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These biophilic buildings are the future of sustainable architecture

If the thought of your home being part of a living, breathing building fills you with hope for our planet’s future, then check out these futuristic biophilic buildings (that are being built right now)

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By House & Garden South Africa | February 9, 2022 | Architecture

Foster + Partners

One Beverly Hills, Los Angeles

This incredible sustainable structure on the triangle of land between Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard will include the two tallest buildings in Beverly Hills and will be constructed from recycled, low-embodied carbon and low-toxicity material and offer more than three kilometres of pathways, housing sculptures and water features.

On top of this, its garden will host 40 trees and 250 plant species native to California and a geothermal system will use the soil's ground temperature to manage the building’s climates and provide hot water, setting a new standard in aggressively lowering emissions and energy consumption.

The Fynbos in Cape Town by 2802 Architects

2802 Architects

The Fynbos, Cape Town

The Fynbos on Bree Street blurs the divide between the outdoors and the built environment while proving that sustainability and style are a winning combination.

As the first development of its kind on the African continent, this building is pioneering in more ways than one and boasts an exterior, which is draped in a 1 200-square-metre vertical garden made up of 30 species of indigenous trees and 20 species of shrub.

With its indigenous flora, high design and on-trend detailing, this apartment block allows you to be at one with nature as well as revitalise the urban landscape.

Heatherwick Studios' recently opened 1 000 Trees development

Heatherwick Studios

1 000 Trees, Shanghai

This fantasy-like structure promotes a harmonious relationship between man and the outdoors and is situated next to Shanghai’s M50 arts district, as well as a public park on the site of an old flour factory.

Designed by British designer Thomas Heatherwick’s studio, this development consists of two mountain-like peaks, spans 300 000 square metres and features 1 000 pillars, each with a tree planted on top. Over 70 different tree species were meticulously used for the project and inside the pillars is a hidden watering system to keep them healthy.

The Stefano Boeri Architetti-designed Liuzhou Forest City development

Stefano Boeri Architetti

Liuzhou Forest City, Huanggang

When we talk about 'green buildings' we’re usually referring to those that are designed to be environmentally friendly, but increasingly, buildings are becoming, quite literally, green – and this Stefano Boeri Architetti development in Huanggang, China is no exception.

This paradigm-shifting vertical forest’s two residential towers are covered with over 400 local tree species, in addition to other plants, and the structure of the development was designed so that the foliage on the balconies would blend into the facade seamlessly.

What’s more, the trees and greenery will absorb 22 tons of carbon dioxide and produce 11 tons of oxygen annually.

Koichi-Takada Architects' Urban-Forest building in Australia

Koichi Takada Architects

Urban Forest, Brisbane

Koichi Takada Architects pulled out all the stops to make this 30-storey high rise the world’s most environmentally friendly residential building. Located in Brisbane, Australia, this structure will have 382 apartments, a two-story rooftop with garden amenities, and an open public park on the ground level. It will also come with solar panels to generate renewable energy and its gardens will be irrigated by harvested rainwater.

Featuring 300 per cent site cover with over 1 000 trees and more than 20 000 plants from 259 native species, this development highlights the next stage in the evolution of the architectural vertical garden.

Words by Neil Büchner