Building design can play a vital role in the battle against climate change, by way of sustainable materials, energy-efficient technologies and increasing green cover.

And in lieu of additional parks and gardens, green high rises use natural vegetation to enhance air quality, regulate heat and intensify human interaction with nature for healthier lifestyles. Below are some exquisite samples of green high rises:

By reconceptualising an abandoned structure at the port of Piraeus, Smyrlis Architects intend to cultivate a landmark for the city. The competition entry proposes enveloping all four sides of the façade with olive trees — a plant deeply connected to the region’s history and culture. Likening a Mediterranean-Greek landscape, this vertical garden operates as a filter and cooling instrument for the structure. Prism-like metal pockets that contain the trees and the watering mechanisms cover the whole façade in an alternating pattern. Not only that, especially designed nets conceal these plants during harvest season to collect the fruits.



Oasia Hotel Downtown by WOHA, Central Business District, Singapore

Landscape elements are part and parcel of this tower, distinguishing the hotel on the city skyline. The body of the tower is divided into vertical sections that each boast their own sky garden, supplying public spaces above ground level. Twenty-one species of creepers are planted across the walls. With a Green Plot Ratio of 1,100%, the structure is a sublime sample of the incorporation of green cover in dense urban regions.



Nanjing Vertical Forest by Stefano Boeri Architetti, Nanjing, China

Colorful florals and lush vegetation encompass these two towers in Nanjing. These structures encompass office spaces, a museum, a green architecture school and a private rooftop club. Vertical Foresting, a trademark of the studio, proposes a manner of blending nature and design in a sustainable and forward-thinking manner. The 600 large trees, 200 medium-sized trees, 2,500 shrubs and trailing plants lining the façades aim to lessen carbon dioxide emissions by about 18 tons and generate 16.5 tons of oxygen per year.



Shenzhen Transsion Tower by Aedas, Shenzhen, China

This tower assumes a minimal approach to planting by cultivating public spaces and green cover at regular intervals, intermingling them with the functions in the structure. Continual recesses on two sides take this concept further; they contain vegetation and open staircases that blend the interior spaces with nature.



Infinity Tower by DNA BARCELONA ARCHITECTS, Hong Kong

This building likens the double-helix shape of the DNA molecule. The mixed-use project is also called a twisted ladder. Each floor comprises decks on the deck for visitors to walk about and freshen greenery and unobstructed views of the city.



THE LINK City-Forest by Luca Curci Architects

THE LINK can hold 200,000 people, absorb carbon dioxide, generate oxygen and can be accessed by land or by air, rendering it the perfect building of tomorrow. The urban forest consists of four cone-like, connected towers that boast green spaces on each level. Aside from its contribution to the natural environment, the building also generates renewable energy through solar panels and other resources. The blending of residential, commercial, institutional, recreational and farming spaces in the four towers renders it self-sustainable.



Occitanie Tower by Studio Libeskind, Toulouse, France

Occitanie Tower offers a green spiral going up its length, instead of the conventional vertical or horizontal green planes. Aside from this aesthetic accent, the green ribbon also serves as a platform for the residents of the offices, hotels, restaurants and apartments inside. Designed by landscape architect Nicolas Gilsoul, this band shifts colour in accordance with the season, affecting the design of the structure.


Images by MORPH and LUXIGON


Shenzhen Logistic City by JDS ARCHITECTS, Shenzhen, China

Likening a mountain, the tower offers ascending and descending paths along slopes of different heights. Plants cover the majority of floors of the structure and sizable voids on all sides are fitted with wind turbines to produce power. The blend of public spaces, offices and housing help it attain self-sustainability.





Image source:, Smyrlis Architects, WOHA, Stefano Boeri Architetti, Aedas, DNA BARCELONA ARCHITECTS, Luca Curci Architects, Studio Libeskind, JDS ARCHITECTS