Imagine you’re out for a walk. On your left are lush plants: bushes and flowers rise from the floor as palm fronds reach out overhead. On your right are a view of the city, skyscrapers, and urban landscape as far as the eye can see.
Sounds impossible? This will be the everyday experience for residents of the new Vertical Oasis Building, an ecologically-driven 53-story tower supported by its luscious plant life. This model can change how cities affect their environments, one building at a time.
The primary goal of the Vertical Oasis Building is to change the environment in the building’s direct vicinity. But, project designers have a much bigger vision: to give city residents the power to transform their structures and even entire neighborhoods to be more eco-friendly. Vertical Oasis seeks to be a model for how bold, contemporary design can optimize a building’s use of solar energy, and how plant life can be an integral part of the design.
The building’s shape is specifically crafted to create shade or indirect sunlight for the plants that need it. These plants, as well as the solar energy brought in by the building, lower the building’s demand for energy. Technology and biotechnology work carefully to offset the pollution and negative environmental impact the surrounding city has created.
Vertical Oasis is the prototype for the broader vision of creating entire neighborhoods with an eco-friendly design. With its open structure showcasing abundant plant life, it looks, unlike any other major hotel! From the outside, it seems like a large tower with green leaves overflowing with actual plants. The building’s economic purpose is modeled after typical businesses in highly populated areas, with a business plan for hotel, residential, fine dining, office, and retail space.
The external layer of the building plays the most important role in creating a positive economic impact. The opaque white sections of the façade are made of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) panels – this is what we usually picture when we think of solar panels. The glazing of the façade is made using Clearview power technology, which absorbs ultraviolet and infrared light. These sources create electricity for the building.
The luscious green vertical garden is displayed through dips in the façade, where the architects have created open outdoor spaces filled with plant life. They are designed with multifunctional VOS WCC modular panels, which are a new technology that changes the environment directly surrounding the building. Pollution from carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and particles will be purified by the carefully selected plants and microorganisms in these sections. They are also supported by the building’s systems and closed-circulation strategies.
These plants even reduce noise pollution, as they absorb and deflect the sounds of the city. The plants’ natural processing of water (called “transpiration”) helps to humidify and cool the air. This provides an oasis from the hot, noisy city and the too-familiar smells of the exhaust!
The “green layer,” as the architects have dubbed this plant layer of the building, is the key to stormwater management both for the Vertical Oasis Building and its surrounding buildings. In future expansions of this project, the green layer may even make it unnecessary for buildings to connect to the local rainwater networks.
The ecological advantages are fantastic, and the green layer also provides an exciting interactive component for residents and hotel guests at the Vertical Oasis. The green layer will be paired with a mobile application that provides the status of the system for each plant in the matrix. This means that each guest can look up any given plant, and discover how much oxygen is produced in real-time. Guests will be able to modify the aesthetics of the system and see just how plant life is impacting their quality of life and experience.
The plants and microorganisms will be individually determined based on each location and its needs and challenges. It is meant to be a biodiverse site, prioritizing species that can live in harmony, safe from extinction. This means that no two Vertical Oasis buildings will be exactly alike, as each will be suited to its climate and local flora and fauna.
The outer layers of the building are responsible for significant environmental impacts, but they are also designed to hold up to harsh weather. This design reduces a building’s need for air conditioning by up to 66%, and its need for heat by 30%.
The top of the building is another opportunity for plant life. Palm trees reach skyward from this rooftop terrace with beautiful views of the city. The design of the building lets the beauty of plant life shine.
One building created with this dedication to environmental change can impact its surroundings, but it’s even more exciting to think about an entire neighborhood with this design. This approach to architecture could create luscious, plant-filled parks in the heart of downtowns – truly finding an oasis for residents who may want more than the concrete jungle.