"We must do better than 1,000 Trees" - architecture and design

"We must do better than 1,000 Trees"



Although adding trees to buildings can have real value, at Thomas Heatherwick's recently opened 1,000 Trees, the carbon costs outweigh the environmental benefit, says Philip Oldfield.

Almost a decade ago, journalist and researcher Tim De Chant published a piece entitled Can we please stop drawing trees on top of skyscrapers" It quickly went viral.
In it, he chastises architects for adding arbitrary vegetation to buildings giving a perception of sustainability. "It's just not realistic. I get it why architects draw them on their buildings. Really, I do. But can we please stop""
In the years that have followed, architects haven't listened. A plethora of verdant buildings and towers have been realised, and no multi-storey section is complete without some form of lush hanging greenery, or over-sized trees growing from dubiously shallow soil depths. Project descriptions often talk of accommodating forests, headlands, farms and more, all at height above the city. The latest to embrace this trend is Heatherwick's 1,000 Trees, the first phase of which has recently opened in Shanghai.
The potential of nature is diminished in this quest for a self-indulgent architectural concept
1,000 Trees creates an architectural topography; two stepped mounds, 60 and 100 metres in height (the latter of which is set to be built in the second phase, over the next few years).
Sited adjacent to a public park that runs along the Suzhou river, the design seeks to visually extend thi...
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