Architecture

Vertical Gardens to Cultivate Sustainable Skyscraper

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Green8 Skyscraper Concept

A new concept for a twisted tower and vertical garden city has been unveiled by two Berlin architects.

It’s not the unconvential design that has everyone talking, however, with more focus place on the architects’ vision to create a top-to-bottom vertical garden city that encourages sustainable living.

The curved design of the skyscraper project, titled Green8, twists into a figure-8 shape, wrapping around multiple levels of vertical gardens embedded into the buildings hollow sections.

The skyscraper will include 45,000 square metres of building space and will be located in the heart of Alexanderplatz, a large public square and transport hub in the Mitte district of Berlin.

While twisted skyscrapers have been applauded for their architectural aesthetic and their ability to reduce wind-force on buildings, Green8 will go a step further, creating a sustainable community in a typical urban setting.

The project was designed by architects Agnieskzka Preibisz and Peter Sandhaus, who were looking to help foster a stronger sense of community.

Green8 Skyscraper Concept

Green8 Skyscraper Concept – Inside The Gardens

In order to create a “community” high rise, the building needed to serve multiple requirements for residents, with the lines between the private and public realms blurred. The architects envision the mixed-use skyscraper to include:

  • A vertical greenhouse, farmer’s market, gardens, orchards and farms
  • Maisonette residencies
  • Residents’ offices and workshops
  • 360 degree Panaroma, health spa, pool and bar
  • Restaurant, boarding house, elderly care and kindergarden

In urban centres, vertical gardens have been most celebrated for their carbon benefits, providing improved air quality, acoustic support to buildings and visual appeal.

Through this concept, Preibisz and Sandhaus have highlighted the opportunity for proposed vertical gardens in future skyscrapers to move beyond their sustainable duties and double up as community food sources through vertical farming, an alternative to the industrial food process.

This again ignites the debate as to whether a concept like vertical garden cities could serve as a solution to food insecurity problems the world over. According to World Hunger Education Services, they can.

World Hunger reports that climate change is a current and future cause of hunger and poverty with increasing drought, flooding and changing climatic patterns. This requires a shift in crops and farming practices that vertical farming could indeed deliver.

Plantagon's Plantscraper, Sweden

Plantagon’s Plantscraper, Sweden

In addition to reducing food transport costs, energy use and water waste, vertical gardens could also be feeding both its building’s residents and the extended public.

Preibisz and Sandhaus developed the concept as part of a master plan for the eastern quarter of Berlin and are currently seeking potential owners, consulting with engineers on the feasibility of Green8.

While urban farming is already gaining traction worldwide, one ground-breaking project in Linkoping, Sweden due for completion next year is set to be the world’s first vertical urban farm. In addition to producing food for the entire town, the building will also be a testing hub for scientists to investigate technologies for new urban farming.

The 54-metre structure (a vertical greenhouse) is being built by Plantagon, an organisation that develops systems and technologies for urban architecture. .

Green8, like many sustainable-inspired projects, further challenges what can be accomplished with a green concept like vertical gardens.

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PHOTO CREDITS

1,2 Image: via dezeen
3rd Image: via ecofriend
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  1. Robert Walsh says:

    In my view there is more to sustainable urbanism than what goes in inside a building. Realistically this proposed project is going to be housing for multimillionaires which is fine since they need a place to live too, but when evaluating whether it is sustainable we also need to consider what impact a project will have on the street life below and nearby. It seems to me that fostering a sense of community involves finding inclusive strategies that make it easy for people of diverse backgrounds to feel valued as part of a community. It is useful to keep in mind that skyscrapers cost three times as much (or more) than other buildings of similar materials. Twisting towers are more expensive because the twist itself complicates construction. Add to this the extra costs of a structure supporting immense soil loads and expanded common spaces and the result is a building in which a 600 SF studio unit is going to probably cost 2-3 million dollars. It’s fine and I hope it succeeds. I just think we all need to understand that other strategies and solutions are going to be needed as well if sustainable urbanism is going to succeed for entire communities.

    • Bill Badrick says:

      I agree totally with Robert W. This kind of grand-standing design is sucking the oxygen out of the room. Folks have limited interest in a sustainable future anyway, and this glory-seeking B.S. gets the headlines. We need to focus on practical incremental solutions that individuals and small developers can carry out today. High rises and cities will never be sustainable. They require massive inputs of energy, materials and food. We need to start creating a Third Way of development, not more suburbs or cities. We have a distributed computer-centered life now, we can live anywhere and be connected to any workplace on the planet. So why not build compact walkable communities of semi-dense self-sustained live-work-play homes. [link below] They make power, capture/filter rain-water, and grow veggies and fish.
      Hey Mr. President, build twenty million of these instead of Keystone!

  2. Dr Suman Sahai says:

    Without going into the merits of twisted high rise buildings, I find the concept of agriculture and food production inside the city a desirable one. Not only does the green and essential come close and become real, the relationship with what we eat and how it grows is fostered to some extent. Today our food comes from far away invisible places and we do not connect to the farmers and their fields. This kind of approach may generate interest in the farm sector which needs to be kept alive and vibrant if the human race is to survive.
    Suman Sahai

  3. Bill Badrick says:

    The notion that this is ‘sustainable’ is hard to believe. It takes massive resources and a good fortune to build in this energy-hog fashion. Even if they could grow the most expensive fruits and veggies in the world, it would take centuries to balance out the ecological damage [ the resource extraction ] their material choices have caused. Skyscrapers are giant ego-statements, and are bad for our sustainable future.

  4. Benjamin Nordland says:

    While I do agree that this concept is purely a showcase piece (think world’s fair or even olympic structures), the architects who designed it are on to something. By creating a farm in a dense urban setting, you reduce the number one source of pollution from our environment; transportation. Urban farms also benefit from an infrastructure that is already in place and well established. I believe that the future of human society will be in cities. By creating scattered centers of population, you limit the potential of the natural environment to mitigate all the effects of our un-natural environment. Is it sustainable to have scattered communities which require interruption of large tracts of land which wildlife needs. You think your idea of scattered villages (sustainable or not) would be tolerant of natures natural predators. By concentrating populations within cities, you actually decrease the average energy, water and resource use per person. I’m not saying that the cities we live in now are ideal, but giving up and taking up more land is definitely not sustainable. And your pipe dream of non-urban communities is just that. The vast majority of humans in the world do not live in the “computer-centered life” and don’t have access to computers, nor are the greedy power holders interested in developing sustainable communities for them to live in.

    • Bill Badrick says:

      Benjamin, It is not possible to grow enough food to achieve the noble goal of eliminating transportation of food to cities. I am not suggesting ‘villages’ that are scattered, but a Third Way that involves dense walkable developments. These may be in places that are already developed.

      If we take out old suburbs, mid-sized towns or even big lot inner-city areas and double or even triple the density with homes like the Self-Sustained House, that grows a good portion of food, makes energy and captures rainwater, then we can vastly mitigate our impacts.

      The wave of computers will reach the whole world, cell phones are in the most rural areas of africa,south america and asia. If we advance the idea of the SSH to the developing world, instead of soul-less mega-cities, we can make the planet a better place to live, and one that might survive global warming.

  5. Reinaldo says:

    Dickson Despommier has been working on this concept for a few year alreay

    • Dan Staley says:

      I have seen Despommier’s promotional material for more than a year, but I have never seen an accounting of inputs. Can you point me to the place on that site that calculates ROI and inputs? thank you in advance.

  6. Blake Ludwig says:

    This is very cool. I wonder if each resident will actually have access to grow their own crops – like personal allotments – or if the plots will be grown and harvested by a third party and sold back to the inhabitants. I also wonder what other socially sustainable solutions they are introducing?


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