AN APARTMENT CARVED AROUND TREES

Amidst the industrial city of Turin, Italy, a unique residential apartment is built around trees and greenery, breathing new life to urban living.

Text by Isabelle Pinto |

Photography by Beppe Giardino

If you are familiar with the infamous classic Disney animation “Peter Pan”, you would know that this fictional character who never wanted to grow up lived with his band of “lost boys” in a playful-looking tree house in the imaginary land of Neverland. A rather fictitious concept, their house was literally a tree with a number of man-sized, or rather “boy-sized” holes scattered around its trunk which Peter and the boys could jump into, leading to a secret underground living space. Looking at images of Italian architect Luciano Pia’s extraordinary residential apartment building which came up just three years ago in Turin, Italy somehow reminded me of the tree house in the animation due to its playful exterior façade filled with trees that would indeed make Peter and the lost boys jump for joy if it were to be their home.

With more than 150 trees planted around as well as within the apartment building, it stands as a stark contrast to the city of Turin’s industrial surroundings. It is also unlike any other apartment building that you’ve seen due to the architect’s amazing design concept of making the trees and green landscaping the main foundation to build around. According to Pia, he wanted to build a building that was not just a structure in itself, but also part of the natural surroundings in which we live. “Normally architects tend to design and build the building first, and then add in the trees and greenery in the available empty spaces,” he says. “But I wanted to do just the opposite. When designing, I put in place the gardens, trees and shrubs first; and then in the remaining spaces, I designed the apartment.”

Spanning five storeys high, the entire structure is mainly made of steel with wooden terraces and over a million reddish larch shingles covering its apartment units, boasting a rather classy rustic look. It has aptly been named “25 Verde” with “verde” meaning “green” in Spanish. Besides the abundance of greenery surrounding the building’s façade, there are also an additional 50 trees planted in the court garden within the apartment, providing a refreshing forest-like atmosphere. Just imagine the amount of oxygen and fresh air that residents will be able to take in on a daily basis! The trees are also said to act as noise filters, dampening the noise from the surrounding industrial area and creating a calm and peaceful atmosphere to live within the city.

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