• Planned Nanjing Green Towers.

Planned Nanjing Green Towers. (Photo : Stefano Boeri Architetti )

"Vertical Forests" are coming to China (specifically to Nanjing) from Milan, Italy where they now play a growing role in mitigating air pollution.

These Vertical Forests enclose buildings with trees and plants to absorb as much air pollution as they can, in the process producing clean oxygen and boosting local biodiversity. The Vertical Forests are basically massive, manmade forests that serve as air filters designed to clean the air in smog-choked cities, such as Beijing and many others in China.

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Italian architecture firm Stefano Boeri Architetti unveiled its designs for the Nanjing Green Towers, a pair of Vertical Forests buildings planned for the Pukou District of Nanjing, capital of southern Jiangsu province.

The taller tower will rise some 200 meters and feature offices, a museum, a green architecture school and a private rooftop club. The shorter tower, a 108 meter-high building, will include a Hyatt hotel and a rooftop swimming pool.

Both buildings will rest on a 66 foot-high podium that will host a food market, restaurants, a shopping center and a conference hall.

The Vertical Forests on these towers together will feature 1,100 trees from nearly two-dozen local species. There will also be 2,500 cascading plants and shrubs, and a green area spanning 6,000 square meters.

The manmade forests will absorb 25 tons of carbon dioxide annually and produce 60 kilograms of oxygen every day, according to the Italian firm.

Stefano Boeri Architetti plans to finish the green tower project in 2018. It also plans on future Vertical Forests in other major Chinese cities, including Shijiazhuang, Liuzhou, Guizhou, Shanghai and Chongqing.

Nanjing Green Towers will be similar to the "Bosco Verticale" (Vertical Forest), a pair of residential towers in the Porta Nuova district of Milan, Italy.

One tower has a height of 111 meters while the other stands 76 meters tall. Bosco Verticale will eventually host more than 900 trees (550 trees and 350 trees in the first and second towers, respectively) on 8,900 square meters of terraces. Within the complex is an 11-storey office building.