Australia’s One Central Park has been pipped at the post by a twin-tower residential project covered in giant cantilever planter boxes at the 2014 International Highrise Awards (IHA).

Milan, Italy’s ‘Bosco Verticale’ by Boeri Studio was announced the winner of the coveted global awards program, chosen from a pool of five finalists which also included Sydney’s One Central Park by Ateliers Jean Nouvel and PTW architects.

Boeri Studio were awarded the prize statuette and EUR $50,000 prize money at an awards ceremony in Frankfurt’s Paulskirche by representatives of Germany’s Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) and the City of Frankfurt.  

The project was celebrated as a symbiosis of nature with built form, and the judges repeatedly used the terms “innovative” and “pioneering” in their citations.

The two towers are based on the same simple rectangular footprint design but differ in height, one being  19 storeys in height and the other 27 (80 and 112 meters respectively).

Each of the 113 apartments in total is equipped with at least one balcony and a giant planter box which cantilever out from the building and house several hundred trees, bushes and shrubs.

The plants almost completely cover the façade and ensure a natural climate in the apartments and provide outstanding residential conditions.

The architects, Stefano Boeri, Gianandrea Barreca, Giovanni La Varra have resolved to dedicating the prize money to non-profit projects in Porta Nuova – Isola district, where the “vertical forest” is located.

The IHAs have been awarded biannually since 2004.

Photography: Kirsten Bucher and Paolo Rosselli.