Vertical greenery systems: from plants to trees with self-growing interconnections

Xiuli Wang, Wolfgang Gard, Helena Borska, Bob Ursem, J. W.G. van de Kuilen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The integration of buildings into vegetation has become a necessity in many metropolitan areas of the world today. It expands the potential of vertical and horizontal, exterior and interior, exposed and enclosed spaces in a building that can be used to accommodate plants. Green infrastructures have benefits both on urban and building scales. They can be categorized into green roofs and vertical greenery systems that can be divided further into green façade, green wall, green terraces, elevated forest and vertical forest. There are many design and planting considerations for architects, structural engineers and botanists when using living architectures to mimic natural systems, such as plant characteristics and environmental conditions. Plants used for vertical greenery are more likely to be hardwood species to adjust solar radiation during cooling and heating periods, as well as for aesthetic pleasure. Take Bosco Verticale, which is located in Milan, as an example to look into engineering methods when trees grow on balconies of high-rise buildings. It can be concluded that planting restraint safety systems and regular maintenance are necessary for the tree growth in the sky. However, the change in growing conditions causes various problems such as stability and irregular growth of trees. Instead of using steel cables and cages to prevent trees from falling off in the sky, the concept of self-growing connections is proposed to act as natural bracings and provide the stability for vertical forests. This paper is meant to generate awareness of the possibilities of the vertical integration of trees into buildings, show application considerations, and inspire future developments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1031-1043
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Wood and Wood Products
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


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