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Originally published April 20 2015

This apartment building covered in trees filters air pollution, lowers electricity costs and brings residents closer to nature

by Sandy J. Duncan

(NaturalNews) There are no trees along most of the sidewalks in the city of Turin, Italy. But if you walk by 25 Verde in Turin you will find a small forest built into a new five-story apartment building. The 150 trees are built in large pots on custom-shaped terraces.

"If the trees are integrated in the building, they are closer to the people who live there, and so there is more integration between man and nature," says architect Luciano Pia. The trees not only filter air pollution but also reduce the excessive noise from busy streets and traffic. These 150 trees are said to be capable of absorbing around 200,000 liters of CO2 emissions per hour. And an additional bonus is created in the fact that the leaves of the trees create a microclimate for the building, making the heating and cooling of the building more efficient.

There have been many skyscrapers that have attempted trees at incredible heights, but these designs have not been successful due to wind conditions and air quality necessary to sustain the trees, according to Pia. "In tall buildings, the outdoor climate is considerably different from that on the lower floors to the ground level," says Pia. "At the top there is always wind. I don't think planting trees on skyscrapers is a way to go."

Another important element in the 25 Verde project is ensuring that each of the 150 trees planted has adequate room to grow. The pots must be big enough to accommodate the right soil conditions, nutrition and root growth. The building is built around a courtyard which includes another 50 trees. The feeling of looking out and seeing trees rather than just seeing concrete was an important element for Pia according to his profile at

"The building has been conceived as a living forest," Pia says.

Turin's air pollution problems

Residents in the famous Italian city of Turin have to live with the greatest exposure to deadly air pollution compared to other cities within the European Union, according to a study published by The Lancet in 2013. The study included 360,000 residents in 13 EU countries and discovered that the health dangers from pollution were extremely grave and Turin's exposure to fine particle pollution was the worst of those cities studied. This type of pollution contributes to heart and lung disease and can lead to lung cancer.

"Prolonged exposure to tiny particles of soot or dust found in traffic fumes and industrial emissions may be more deadly below current EU air quality limits than previously thought," the study said. Perhaps this report is what inspired the Italian-born architect, Luciana Pia to create this eco-friendly and tree laden apartment in Turin.

World record garden apartment in Singapore

Another eco-logical wonder can be found in Singapore's District 23. The Tree House is a 24-story condo building that hosts the world's record vertical garden and includes state-of-the-art sustainable technologies, heat-reducing windows, and motion sensors that turn on the lights only when needed to conserve energy. The vertical garden will reduce the building's carbon footprint by filtering pollutants and carbon dioxide out of the air just like Luciano Pia's in Turin. Tree House's 2,289-square-meter vertical garden holds the Guinness World Record.

It is very encouraging to see architects taking up the responsibility to provide nature and green no matter where one lives as well as striving for greener living solutions.

Substantial research proves that natural scenes produce positive emotions, facilitate cognitive functioning, and promote recovery from mental fatigue for people who are in good mental health. The experience of nature can also provide respite for those who experience short-term and chronic mental illness.


Han, K.T. 2010. An Exploration of Relationships Among the Responses to Natural Scenes: Scenic Beauty, Preference, and Restoration

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