Tag Archives: green movement

The City Meets the Forest

-Laura Lundberg

Sustainability and “Going Green” are trends that have become popular in the past few years all around the world.  It seems that everyone wants to be a part of the green trend, and businesses, cities, and countries are working hard to bring to the people new ways of travelling, eating, dressing, and living that will have their products cut down on carbon emissions, and provide their clients with a more comfortable way of living. Milan, Italy, is no exception to this idea, as it is currently building one of the greenest and most creative projects ever – an apartment building that will be the world’s first ever vertical forest.

The Bosco Verticale is being designed by the architecture firm known as Stefano Boeri Architetti, and it will be erected in the center of Milan, close to the Isola neighborhood. Both residential towers that are undergoing construction currently will measure 33 stories (110 meters) and 23 stories (76 meters) respectively and each building will hold about 900 trees of different species and height that will “surround” the building in green foliage. These two residential towers will have over 10,000 square meters of trees (if all the trees were planted on flat land), and will keep the CO2 emissions down for this urban area.

According to an article published by Inhabit.com, an architectural weblog that is devoted to the future of design while keeping the environment in mind, “The diversity of the plants and their characteristics produce humidity, absorb CO2 and dust particles, producing oxygen and protect the building from radiation and acoustic pollution. This not only improves the quality of living spaces, but gives way to dramatic energy savings year round” (Diane Pham, Inhabit.com). This will allow for residents who wish to live in the buildings to feel comforted by the fact that their apartment’s energy will be clean, safe, and sustainable.

Another interesting feature of these two eco-friendly residential buildings is that all of the grey water from the apartments will be filtered and recycled throughout the building, which will dramatically cut down on costs of water for tenants. The trees will also help the residents save on money, as they will provide shade during the summer and more sunlight to be captured during the winter once the trees have lost their leaves.

The Bosco Verticale is only the first step in the architect’s vision of a greener Milan. He has an overall project entitled BioMilano, which will aim to create a ‘green belt’ around the city of Milan by incorporating over 60 abandoned farms that exist on the outskirts of the city and  repurposing them for community use. The Bosco Verticale began its construction in 2007, and hopes to be finished constructing within a few years.

While the architects of Stefano Boeri Architetti seem to envision plenty for the city of Milan, the architect firm hopes that their green ideas will spark a wave of the implementation of more sustainable buildings and polices in other countries, so that everyone can start becoming more sustainable than they are today.

If you want to learn more about the Bosco Verticale idea, check out this news report done by an Australian media called “The Age”.

Renderings taken from Boeri Studio

Chris Jordan’s Exhibit Raises Environmental Awareness with Breathtaking Imagery


– Mike Munoz

Over the past couple of years, the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art has held a variety of popular exhibitions, such as The Art of the Superhero and Giuseppe Vasi’s Rome. While the museum on campus has never had an issue drawing a crowd, perhaps no exhibit has carried a message as important as Chris Jordan’s Running the Numbers.

The gallery features large-scale photography by Jordan, which is meant to expose environmental issues and wasteful trends in the United States. By digitally manipulating his photographs, he is able to create illusions of vast quantities of various objects from fields of toothpicks to mountains of paper bags. The art featured varies drastically in style, as some are simple patterns and sequences, while others are more distinct images such as landscapes and portraits.

The idea is that the images will put harmful habits practiced by US citizens into perspective. “My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone,” says Jordan on his website. “Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year.”

Most of Jordan’s work focuses heavily on the green movement, and how wasteful we can be as a country. One image, simply titled Light bulbs, depicts 320,000 light bulbs to show how much energy households waste every minute. Another piece titled Denali Denial features a landscape made entirely out of Denali SUV logos, which are deliberately misspelled “Denial.”

While some of the imagery is abstract, other pieces are inspired by the work of other well known artists. The picture, Cans Seurat, is a portrayal of George Seurat’s famous A Sunday on La Grande Jatte made entirely of aluminum soda cans. Another photograph shows Chris Jordan’s spin on Vincent van Gogh’s Skull with a Burning Cigarette. The image, titled Skull with Cigarette, is composed of 200,000 packs of cigarettes, which is approximately the same number of American citizens who die from smoking every six months.

Although most of his work focuses on the environment, Jordan does not limit his message to the green movement. His picture, Barbie Dolls, depicts a pair of breasts made up of 32,000 dolls; the same number of elective breast surgeries done monthly in 2006. Another photograph titled Handguns is meant to raise awareness about gun violence in the United States. The mural depicts patterns comprised of 29,569 guns, which is the number of gun related deaths in the US in 2004.

Whether you are actively involved in the green movement or not, there is no doubt that the numbers presented by Chris Jordan are staggering. The show will certainly dazzle many with its astonishing imagery, and hopefully convince some to change their habits and pursue a more efficient lifestyle.