by Meghna MehtaNov 04, 2019
“Urban Forest is probably the greenest we can design with the current ‘greening' tools and regulations available to us,” says Koichi Takada, the Sydney-based architect and principal of Koichi Takada Architects, which is redefining apartment living and the conventions of green building design for high-rise architecture with their upcoming project Urban Forest in Queesland’s South Brisbane. The 30-storey tower conceived as ‘densely-forested vertical gardens’, when realised, is expected to become the “world’s greenest residential building” rising above the Brisbane skyline.
The project by Brisbane-based Aria Property Group introduces landscape as an active component of its design. As a green spine connecting the Southbank Parklands with Musgrave Park, the building will feature over 1000 trees and 20,000 plants selected from the native species. This ‘green’ treatment accounts for more than five times the number of trees found in the nearby Musgrave Park.
Urban Forest features 382 apartments, a two-storey rooftop, sky gardens, and sculpturesque stepped facades with extended balconies that will bring traditional backyard experience to its users.
A public park will take shape at the base of the tower. This will be done by lifting the tower up on a set of organic columns that look rather like tree-trunks; the feature also draws reference from the quintessential Queenslander architecture, which is often supported by stumps. Once constructed, the park will become an extension of the surrounding parklands and will give back 1350 sqm of green space to the community. Flushed with dappled light illuminating its inner depths, this space will blur the barriers between the building and the nature.
Koichi Takada Architects seek to partner with educational institutions to host outdoor lectures and classrooms within the tower and connect with Brisbane’s culture and festivals to celebrate year-round programmes. A visitor experience centre will be built on the grounds of Urban Forest that will host an array of educational activities to share knowledge about the building’s sustainable performance.
Comprising 300 per cent site cover with living greenery, Urban Forest is anticipated as a cleaner, greener oasis in the middle of the city. Among its sustainable design strategies are façade vegetation for thermal insulation, solar panels to generate renewable energy and gardens for irrigating harvested rainwater.
Through the lens of this project, Koichi Takada stresses on the need to shift to ‘mass greening’ as against mass production that was adopted as a result of industrial revolution. He also emphasises on the need to evaluate materiality in architecture given the times we are living in. Takada says, “With the post COVID-19, I think it’s a great opportunity to pause and rethink and not just adapt, but shift the paradigm from industrial to natural. Concrete, steel and glass are very hard and solid industrial materials. Let’s call them dead materiality. We need to be embracing more living materiality, living architecture”.
Urban Forest sets out to become a landmark for Brisbane and its architecture, a foundation for a new wave of ‘green architecture’ for high-rise constructions of the future. Further development of the project, however, is yet to announced.