This list takes the term “house plant” to a whole new level.
Tackling eco-friendly living and making it look good is something that should certainly be celebrated when possible. As such, every city should take notice of these structures’ leads to make a cleaner future. Oh, and they also happen to be striking and very cool.
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WHERE: Bogota, Colombia
What do you get when you stretch more than 80,000 plants over 33,368 square feet? Why, one the largest living, vertical buildings in the world, of course! Standing at 11 stories, this green building (which is primarily residential) was opened to the world in December 2015. The plants, in addition to purifying the air (they filter about 2,000 tons of harmful gas each year), act as an insulation that reduces the need for AC. Additionally, the vegetation is fed via a system that uses recycled water from the units’ showers.
Oasia Hotel Downtown
A literal breath of fresh air in a crowded city, the Oasia Hotel Downtown, designed by Singaporean architecture firm WOHA, is located in Singapore’s Central Business District and stands 27 stories tall. The exterior aluminum mesh has 20 species of flora crawling across it. While it’s true that the building did replace a park, it’s also true that the building makes up for about 10 times the amount of green space that the park offered. The plants are watered via rainfall and, because of its open sky gardens, the 300 rooms (more or less) require no mechanical ventilation.
WHERE: Turin, Italy
Don’t be surprised if you spot this gem somewhere else on our site—we love a treehouse in a city! Vegetation envelopes 63 residential units here, which sit on columns made of steel and are—in a feat of genius—shaped to look like vegetation themselves. Like a lot of the structures on this list, rain goes a long way toward keeping the plants (which also act as the building’s heating/cooling system) at 25 Verde healthy.
WHERE: Milan, Italy
Also known as the “Vertical Forest,” this architectural marvel is comprised of two buildings, both of which are residential. In total, the facades of Bosco Verticale contain approximately 250 trees and 4,500 shrubs. Solar panels and recycled water help the greens stay green (and the carbon footprint low).
Naturally, birds have taken a liking to the setup—more than 20 species have moved into the flora here.
The Naman Retreat
WHERE: Da Nang, Vietnam
A spa covered in trees just has a certain ring to it, you know? This one in particular, which blends Vietnamese heritage and ultra-luxury into its aesthetic, was designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects, a firm known for incorporating flora into their designs. The green layers around the Naman Retreat lend themselves to privacy, airflow, and a sense of calmness.
One Central Park
WHERE: Sydney, Australia
Another set of apartment towers on this list, One Central Park has vertical gardens galore. One is a 34-story structure and the other a 12-story structure, the plants that cover each—there are 2,700 linear planter boxes—act as an insulator and protectant of direct sunlight, which keeps things cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
WHERE: Paris, France
At about 82 feet, this wall stands features 7,600 plants from 237 species. And, OK, while the original five-story building may not have been designed with it in mind, the permanent installation by botanist and inventor of the vertical garden (!) Patrick Blanc has (literally) cemented the greenery as an immediately identifiable work of art.
Quai Branly Museum
WHERE: Paris, France
In addition to a collection of more than one million objects that reveal the history of cultures throughout Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, the Quai Branly Museum also has a wall of greenery that I simply cannot stop staring at. Also designed by Patrick Black (icon!), this particular façade is a giant mossy carpet that measures 8,600 square feet and contains 15,000 plants, including wallflowers, irises, and ferns, from 150 different species.
ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall
WHERE: Fukuoka City, Japan
Built to promote culture in the Fukuoka Prefecture, the ACROS (the Asian Cross Roads Over the Sea) building is the epitome of open green space in an urban landscape, with its 15 stepped terraces which house a whopping 50,000 plants. ACROS was completed in 1994 for a cool $380 million, and it’s considered to be one of the standout examples of green architecture to come out of the ’90s as it fulfilled a city’s need for green space, while also ensuring developers could profit off of the site.
Parkroyal Collection Pickering
WHERE: Pickering, Singapore
How many luxury hotels do you know that have 160,000 square feet of elevated gardens? Designed by the same firm behind the Oasia Hotel Downtown, this Parkroyal essentially invites its guests to stay in a very, very luxurious garden that was tailor-made for travel influencers.