Adobe Stock/Evgenia Tiplyashina

A local architecture firm in Toronto, Brisbin Brook Beynon, has unveiled plans for a 27-story residential building that will be covered with around 450 trees, growing on its balconies and roofs, reports Fast Company writer Eillie Anzilotti. The project comes at a time when the city's mayor wants 40% of the city to be covered in trees.

The team behind BBB’s vertical forest includes experts like Robert Wright, the dean of the faculty of forestry at University of Toronto, researchers from the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, which researches the viability of tree species in urban areas, and Vanden Bussche Irrigation, which develops horticultural technology. Together, the team has developed a specialized system to monitor and irrigate all 450 trees. Currently, the trees are growing offsite at a nursery managed by PAO Horticultural outside of the city. Planted in their own portable woven stainless steel planters, the trees–half conifers, half deciduous–will eventually be scattered evenly across the building’s exterior terrace surfaces. A monitored system integrated into the building will connect with all of the planters to track key metrics for each of the trees–amount of water, nutrient density, and external conditions like wind strength.

While covering buildings in trees will not alone help cities like Toronto achieve their urban canopy goals, projects like these certainly deliver benefits to the surrounding area (though they also have some critics), like cleaner air and more space for birds and pollinator species, which will in turn assist more mainstream green infrastructure projects. Toronto, for instance, has made strides to increase the presence of green roofs of city buildings, and projects like the vertical forest could act, Brian Brisbin, principal at BBB says, “as a sustainable microclimate between these horizontal green spaces on roofs and on the ground” and direct pollinator species between the two.

Read More