The stunning piece of green building architecture you’re looking at here is called the Rainbow Tree Residential Tower, and its architect claims that, once (if?) built, the 377-foot timber tower would bring more than 30,000 new plants, shrubs, and trees to the skyline of Cebu, Philippines.
The building was designed by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, a Paris-based firm that specializes in innovative, forward-looking sustainable design. If you’ve ever dreamed about what a sustainable, technological utopia might look like, you’ll probably see something familiar among Callebaut’s other green building projects, even if the Rainbow Tree isn’t your cuppa. But, like, come on — it’s gorgeous!
“At a time when we need to find radical solutions to reduce the global carbon footprint,” reads Vincent Callebaut’s high-minded proposal, “we have designed a 32-story, 115-meter high tower built of solid wood, as it is the only natural, abundant, and renewable material. This organic tower integrates the principles of passive bioclimatism and advanced renewable energies. We named it ‘The Rainbow Tree’ because it is an ode to Eucalyptus Deglupta, also known as Rainbow Eucalyptus, an iconic and colorful tree from the Philippines … (that) has the particularity of permanently losing its bark which comes off in long and thin strips, thus revealing a trunk that changes color over time. ‘Degluptere’ also means ‘peel’ in Latin. First pale green, then blue, purple, orange, and finally brown, its trunk is a mosaic of colors, giving the appearance of a real rainbow! You would think that it’s the result of a painting, but its colors are 100% natural!”
Like any good piece of architectural design, however, the Rainbow tree is about more than looks and landscaping. The architects involved have incorporated a number of design solutions for common building issues like heating and cooling that are not only passive, but utterly carbon neutral.
“After choosing the mass timber construction to drastically reduce the carbon footprint of the project during its construction, our efforts have focused on the integration of passive systems and renewable energies to reduce its carbon footprint during its operation,” they write.
“(The tower) benefits from double insulation– interior and exterior– and from (the use of) natural materials such as thatch, hemp, and cellulose wadding … the plant cover makes it possible to control the solar gains and take advantage of the evapotranspiration of the plants to cool the temperature felt on the balconies by 2 to 5 degrees. To ensure natural ventilation in each apartment, wind chimneys cross the central core over its entire height. These chimneys draw outdoor air at an average of 29 degrees annually from the urban forest on the ground floor. This hot air passes under the earthquake-resistant foundations where the thermal inertia of the earth is constant all year round at 18 degrees. This naturally refreshed 22-degree air then forced into the apartments as in a termite hill.”
So, we’ve got stunning visuals, sustainably-sourced renewable materials, lots of trees, and crazy, made-up sounding words (Seriously, have you ever heard of “evapotranspiration” before?), plus a far-out French architect? What’s not to love about this story!?
As ever, I’m sure I’ll find out in the comments. So, take a look at some of my favorite pieces of Rainbow Tree concept art, below — and, if you’re a fan of architecture and floor plans, the original project page is worth a look! — then let us know what you think about green building projects like this in the comments. Enjoy!