When trees meet buildings

Wednesday 17 Oct 2018

Austrian artist Hundertwasser believed trees could soften the psychological impact of living in cities

In an effort to create a more pleasant, healthier and sustainable built environment, architects, engineers and developers are creating increasingly greener buildings - and doing it in a more literal way than ever before.

Buildings with trees are actually nothing new. The mythical Hanging Gardens of Babylon are often imagined as a stepped palace of terraces containing numerous trees, shrubs and exotic flowers.

Although no such building was found during excavations in Mesopotamia and its existence has been subject to much debate, artists have kept this imagery alive in their paintings throughout the centuries.

The current revival of green architecture began in the 1970s, when the energy crisis, coupled with growing awareness of humankind’s impact on the environment, propelled architects and engineers to think more carefully about sustainable development.

Although there are many different ways to approach sustainable building design, an increasing number of architects and engineers began to incorporate green roofs and other energy saving measures into their projects.

A prominent example of this is the Willis Faber and Dumas Headquarters (now called the Willis Building) in Ipswich in the United Kingdom (UK), designed by Sir Norman Foster and completed in 1975.

The building features a reflective double-leaf facade together with a grass-covered roof which could be used as breakout space for the firm’s employees.

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