Trees in the sky

It was really interesting to see Ellis Woodman’s review of the Bosco Verticale (vertical wood) in Milan, published in the latest AJ.

It was really interesting to see Ellis Woodman’s review of the Bosco Verticale (vertical wood) in Milan, published in the latest AJ. This is one of those projects that seems to have existed for so long in CGI form, that nobody quite expected it to be built. But here it is, albeit in a half-finished development and with the trees seen without their summer coats.

One senses that Ellis Woodman is less than totally enthusiastic. The most interesting aspect is the research into choosing trees that can be planted and survive at different heights and aspects – a follow-up would be worthwhile. The construction of the park with which the towers are meant to integrate has been delayed so they are marooned in a muddy wasteland. And the architect, says Woodman, had no control over the interiors which are mundane, and lost a battle over the exterior finishes.

Is this gimmicky or is it an important move? I’m not sure, and that is despite the fact that this is a project to which I have given considerable thought. I wrote about as part of a chapter on tall green buildings for the Thames & Hudson book Architecture: The Whole Story . Writing a couple of essays for this was an interesting experience, but what was most interesting once I received the book was to look at the majority of it, with which I had had no involvement.

It makes it clear that there is not just one way of relating the story of architecture, that like all history it is a construct. In this case it is a very interesting one, combining the familiar and the unfamiliar. Of course there are omissions – Peter Zumthor for instance only appears briefly, in a rather critical sideswipe – but overall it is an interesting and beautifully produced read. And a real tour de force by the editor Denna Jones.

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