Arup and Boeri Studio: How to solve smog problems in Milan with architecture


Creating a green environment in one of the world’s most polluted cities was the challenge facing Boeri Studio and Arup who conceived a residential vertical forest in the heart of Milan, Italy.

Two towers – 110m and 76m high – each house two-room apartments, penthouses and duplexes and all include balconies, which extend 3.35m outwards for the vegetation.

Altogether, 900 trees have been planted, along with 5,000 shrubs and 11,000 floral plants on terraces up to the 27th floor.


Milan has long been known for its smog problems which have reached more than four times the European Union safety limits. Nasal projection is common for pedestrians and civic leaders were once presented with gas masks by campaigners.

The project to combat the pollution was developed using Arup´s structural and geotechnical designs, together with consultancy services on acoustics, vibrations, ground-borne noise and tunnelling.

Because of its large amount of foliage green area, the building also produces energy. Besides creating oxygen and humidity, the plants also absorb CO2 and dust particles, which improves the environment.

Lucaa Buzzoni, project manager, Arup Milan said: “Being part of the design team of such an innovative project presented new challenges every day since the buildings and the structures themselves needed to relate to an ever-changing environment and new and unusual design inputs had to be incorporated in the overall picture.”

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