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Koichi Takada Architects unveils 'urban forest' high-rise planned for Brisbane

Koichi Takada Architects has shared a first look of their latest work – a new mixed-use residential tower planned for the cultural precinct of South Brisbane, Australia.

Designed with the ambition of being the world’s greenest residential building, the ‘urban forest’ project features a host of sustainable design strategies alongside a densely-forested vertical garden.

Designed for Aria Property Group, the program of the 30-story building includes 382 apartments, a two-story rooftop with garden and residential amenities, and an open public park on the ground level. At this ground level, organic-shaped columns populate the park like tree trunks, making reference to the traditional raised queenslander housing type. Filled with dappled light, Koichi Takada Architects envisions this permeable space to connect the new architectural intervention with the public domain.

Joining a trend of ‘vertical garden’ architecture, the green landscape of this project aims to provide more than just an attractive feature. With 1000 plus trees and more than 20,000 plants selected from 259 native species, the lush façades strive to become a dynamic, active component of a sustainable building, increasing biodiversity and reducing the ecological footprint of the city. ‘Urban forest is probably the greenest we can design with the current ‘greening’ tools and regulations available to us,’ comments Koichi Takada, founder of Koichi Takada Architects.

To achieve its aspirations of sustainability, urban forest is targeting a 6-star green star rating, equivalent to LEED platinum. Passive design principles make the most of the subtropical climate, maximizing natural light and allowing cross-ventilation. Organic, sculptural, stepping façades covered in greenery provide physical and visual insulation from the sun, wind and rain, while sky gardens and façade vegetation also provide natural thermal and solar insulation. Other sustainable features include solar panels to generate renewable energy, gardens irrigated by harvested rainwater and grey water collection, carbon offset, and the use of sustainably-sourced and high quality, low maintenance materials.

The project also looks to give back to the community thanks to an onsite visitor experience and tourist center to educate patrons on building design, plant types and biodiversity. The center will provide the opportunity to engage with and educate local schools, universities and visitors on the sustainable performance of the building. By investing in the community, urban forest invests in the future of the planet and people.

Koichi Takada says of the project, ‘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 realization that we are all living things. We are here to live, not defy death in some way. Our architecture should do the same.’

Project info:

Project name: urban forest

Building type: mixed use residential

Location: Cultural precinct of South Brisbane, Australia

Client: Aria Property Group

Architect: Koichi Takada Architects

Storys: 30 storys with a 2-story rooftop for resident amenities

Site area: 29,945 ft2 (2782 m2)

Gross floor area: 592,015 ft2 (55,000 m2)

No. apartments: 382

Public park area: 17,674 ft2 (1642 m2)

Koichi Takada Architects unveils 'urban forest' high-rise planned for Brisbane


  • South Brisbane QLD 4101, Australia
  • Koichi Takada Architects