Queensland could become home to the “greenest residential building in the world” – an apartment tower with a vertical park housing 1,003 trees and over 20,000 plants inside it.
Award-winning developers Aria teamed up with Koichi Takada Architects to try and knock the socks off urban planners to get the project over the line – lodging a development application last Friday with Brisbane City Council for “The Urban Forest”.
The Urban Forest would have over 1,000 trees “living, breathing” on 2.750sq m – which was significantly more than Musgrave Park’s 154 trees over 43,300sq m.
Koichi Takada, who has worked across Tokyo, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Mexico City and Doha, said the groundbreaking development was part of “promoting naturalising our cities”.
“I believe that the Urban Forest will change the way we live. We designed away the barrier between the building and nature. The result is the greenest residential building with generous ‘backyards in the sky’ and offers a healthier way to live.”
The vision was to inspire the next generation to work towards “mass greening” of cities, he said.
Apart from the tower’s mass planting inside it, the project also proposes that a green spine be created connecting Musgrave Park with South Bank, as well as a new 1,350sq m public park at the base of the building, over half of which would be publicly accessible.
The biggest plus for potential residents would be average balcony sizes of 28sq m, aiming to be “the most liveable apartments in the world”, according to Aria design manager, Simon White.
“We want to celebrate Brisbane’s subtropical climate and bring the traditional backyard experience into each apartment. High ceilings, oversized terraces and lush greenery embrace Brisbane’s identity and encourage residents to enjoy their own backyard in the sky.”
There would also be large communal recreation facilities amounting to more than 13sq m per unit in the tower, as well as landmark public art and lighting design in line with Brisbane’s City of Light initiative.
Aria development Manager Michael Hurley said Brisbane had Australia’s best climate conditions.
“In time we want Brisbane to be mentioned in the same breath as Singapore as a global leader in green buildings and sustainability.”
He said the Urban Forest would go beyond what cities like Singapore – the international benchmark for green urban centres and sustainable architecture – which targeted up to 200 per cent of site area covered by foliage. “The Urban Forest will achieve 292 per cent green coverage ratio,” he said.
The proposal also included the Glenelg Street park featuring a stage, outdoor classrooms, amphitheatre and event space, with a floating canopy bridge between columns and above the park.
“We want the Centre to promote the building and Brisbane as a global city, demonstrating what pioneering urban development actually represents” he said.
The design also proposes a two storey rooftop residents amenity space with pools, wellness area, fitness centre, lounges, private dining rooms, boardrooms, workspaces, games rooms and wine bars.
Aria is set to complete stage one of Fish Lane Town Square – a new public park, retail and event space in the heart of South Brisbane late this year. The project converted 50 fenced off car parks into “high quality landscaped public realm”.