International Highrise Award

The residential highrise Bosco Verticale in Milan/Italy designed by Boeri Studio has won the prize for the world’s most innovative highrise. Two residential highrises with greened façades are part of a revitalization project initiated by the City of Milan which goes by the name of “Metrobosco”. Each of the 113 different-sized apartments has access to at least one patio or balcony. High up on the treetops, the residents have their own “little forest”, because there are almost 900 trees growing close to the façades, mixed in with thousands of shrubs, bushes and ground-cover plants choosen by façades exposition.


ph. Kirsten Bucher

Other four skyscrapers are the finalists of the competition: De Rotterdam (OMA), One Central Park (Atelier Jean Nouvel), Renaissance Barcelona Fira Hotel (Atelier Jean Nouvel), Sliced Porocity Block (Steven Holl Architects).

De Rotterdam by OMA takes its orientation from the idea of a “vertical city”, whose manifold functions appear to be visibly stacked. Its 30-meter-high base structure houses a parking garage on six levels. An expansive entrance foyer offers ground-floor access to a congress center, restaurants, bars, cafés and fitness studios. The entire complex also boasts offices, 240 apartments and a hotel. The external façades have been clad with an aluminum post-and-beam construction, making for a filigree appearance which changes depending on the viewer’s position.


© OMA ph. Ossim van Duivenbode

One Central Park by Atelier Jean Nouvel special feature is its all-round greenery. There are planted balconies along the levels and walls of plants on the façade that serve to naturally shade and cool the apartments behind. In this way, particularly in the hot summer months energy savings of up to 30% can be achieved. Conceptually, the project reflects the high standards of the Australian Green Star for environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient residential construction.


ph. John Gollings

Renaissance Barcelona Fira Hotel by Atelier Jean Nouvel consists of two highrise disks standing parallel to each other. The façades are structured not by means of conventional rows of windows, but by an irregular pattern of openings reminiscent of palm-tree leaves. The balustrades on the various stories have plants along them, creating hanging gardens. Bridges and open staircases in the gap between the two buildings form links and afford views out over the surrounding cityscape. When guests step out of their hotel rooms they are confronted not with a closed corridor, but with an airy, shadowy space, and the wind force customary in such highrises is very welcome in the northern Spanish climate, which can be hot in the summer.


ph. Roland Halbe

Sliced Porosity Block by Steven Holl Architects has a white reinforced concrete frame facade. On the ground floor there are small retail units which open out not only onto the street and a shopping passage on the inside, but also onto a nearby park. During evening hours illumination effects on the building façades make for a particularly spectacular experience in the surrounding district. There are squares with water-gardens on three levels, which also serve as skylights for the shopping center on the level below them.


ph. Iwan Baan

Phoenix Towers

At 1km high, Phoenix Towers for HuaYan Group in Wuhan will be the world’s tallest pair of towers, a landmark within an environmental master plan for Wuhan, the capital of central China. The project, developed in the course of Chetwoods’ self-funded research, incorporates design and technological features. The main Tower accommodates the World’s tallest kaleidoscope which is driven by a wind turbine at high level, creating a kaleidoscopic display when viewed up into the Tower from below.

The towers cover seven hectares of a 47 hectare site, situated on an island in a lake, which is at the end of a 3km avenue within a dense city layout.

There are three large spheres which are suspended between the Towers, which represent planets orbiting the Towers.  These will house restaurants which have a celestial theme and are accessed via ‘skywalks’ from the Towers themselves.

The Towers will generate their own power requirement while contributing to the surrounding district thanks to lightweight photovoltaic cladding, bio-dynamic pollution absorbing coatings, thermal chimneys, suspended air gardens, wind turbines, water harvesting/recycling, waste recycling via biomass boilers and hydrogen fuel cells at ground level.

The scheme will provide the environmental catalyst to reinvigorate the city of Wuhan: the Towers have been designed to filter polluted air from the city, cleaning and recycling to improve air quality.

Talking about structural features, a steel superstructure will support off a concrete core with ‘hat’ truss, a trussed structure at base, out-riggered for lateral stability with concrete buttresses has been designed in conjunction with UK engineers WSP.


ph. Chetwoods | Enviromental features of Phoenix Towers


ph. Chetwoods


ph. Chetwoods



Michael Green

Michael Green, conosciuto a livello internazionale per i suoi edifici pluri-premiati e per i suoi progetti di aeroporti e grattacieli, in un talk a TED racconta la sua passione per il legno. Nei suoi edifici fatti di legno le persone si avvicinano al materiale da costruzione, toccandolo; cosa che non accade in edifici fatti di cemento o acciaio “Non ho mai visto nessuno camminare in uno dei miei edifici e di abbracciare una colonna in acciaio o in cemento, ho visto la gente toccare il legno, e penso che ci sia una ragione”, afferma Michael.

In un’ottica più green, l’architetto invita ad abbandonare tutti quei materiali utilizzati nei secoli scorsi in favore di materiali come, appunto, il legno.