Sky-rise Biophilic and Active Living

Session: Track C: Biophilia and the Green Approach

M.K. LeungProject image

M.K. Leung
Director of Sustainable Design, Ronald Lu & Partners
Hong Kong

Vertical urbanism should be a catalyst to reignite humanity’s innate affinity with nature. In compact cities, typical high-rises often displace nature altogether, or, even if they manage to preserve urban greenery near ground level, they fail to connect greenery with building users who are segregated from the natural environment in encapsulated spaces. Biophilic elements should be woven, visually and spatially, throughout vertical green skyscrapers – these may include preserved or added urban greenery or water bodies, green façades and roofs, sky-rise greening in communal spaces in different vertical zones, interior green walls, biomorphic forms and patterns, and natural colors in materials and furnishings.

Nature can also be tempered: Daylight should bathe the perimeter space while, in tropical cities, solar heating should be mitigated. Natural breezes should refresh common areas while avoiding wind amplification and strong gusts. Sky-rise greening at individual doorsteps should be easily accessible for the occupants’ enjoyment, encouraging visits to such spaces from all floors. These biophilic design strategies will foster urban wellness by reducing stress, improving mood and self-esteem, and enhancing cognitive skills and work productivity.