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Global spotlight shines on Australia's greenest building

Urban Forest architect's rendering
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Urban Forest will be a uniquely striking addition to the Brisbane skyline. Image: Koichi Takada Architects/Binyan Studios

Global spotlight shines on Australia's greenest building

One of Australia’s most ambitious green buildings has gained the endorsement of one of the world’s biggest environmentalists, with Sir David Attenborough giving his nod of approval to the Koichi Takada-designed Urban Forest project in Brisbane.

One of Australia’s most ambitious green buildings has gained the endorsement of one of the world’s biggest environmentalists, with Sir David Attenborough giving his nod of approval to the Koichi Takada-designed Urban Forest project in Brisbane.

Sir David shared an architect’s rendering of the project on his Facebook page this week, shining light on Koichi Takada Architects’ and developer Aria Property Group’s ambitions of creating what they say will be the world’s most environmentally-friendly building.

The 30-level apartment tower, which has been proposed to be built on Merivale Street in South Brisbane, will feature more than 1,000 trees and 20,000 plants selected from 259 native species in a series of densely-forested vertical gardens.

A recycling system using water from kitchens, laundries and vanities will feed irrigation of the gardens, with 50 per cent of the buildings waste-water runoff to be treated on site to keep the plants healthy.

The gardens are not just an attractive feature, Koichi Takada said, but rather an active component of sustainability that will increase the biodiversity of South Brisbane and reduce the ecological footprint of the city.

Urban Forests will also feature what Mr Takada describes as ‘green concrete’, a low-carbon variety that will use 40 per cent less Portland cement than a conventional building.

“Urban Forest aims to turn the thoughtless use of toxic building materials into cleaner and healthier material applications, like the idea of green concrete for instance,” Mr Takada said. 

“Much like we care for healthier choices in food, our industry needs a more aggressive approach to its detoxing if we are to tackle climate change. 

“We hope Urban Forest will inspire mass greening. Let’s naturalise our cities.”

Other environmentally-friendly features include post-tensioned concrete slabs, which are designed to reduce the volume of material needed to create the main structure, while the concrete will be locally sourced to minimise the energy used for its transportation.

A range of recycled natural stone and bricks will also be utilised extensively, while all timber used in its construction will be Forest Stewardship Council certified.

Mr Takada said the ambition for Urban Forest was to create the world’s greenest residential building.

“Urban Forest is probably the greenest we can design with the current ‘greening’ tools and regulations available to us,” he said.

“Since the industrial revolution, our society has focused on mass production. Now is the time to shift towards mass greening. 

“2020 has represented a number of different crises to our society and environment from the devastating bushfires in Australia to COVID-19 pandemic crisis worldwide. 

“With the post COVID-19, I think it’s a great opportunity to pause and rethink and not just adapt, but shift the paradigm from industrial to natural. 

“Concrete, steel and glass are very hard and solid industrial materials. Let’s call them dead materiality. We need to be embracing more living materiality, living architecture.

“One take away from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis is the realisation that we are all living things. We are here to live, not defy death in some way. Our architecture should do the same.”

Construction of the 382-apartment tower is expected to kick off in late 2021, with the building expected to be complete by May 2024.

Check out our Instagram for more photos of this exciting development.

Urban Forest architect's rendering
The gardens will also feature extensively throughout the Urban Forest tower. Image: Koichi Takada Architects/Binyan Studios

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