The degradation of the natural environment caused by mass human construction not in harmony with the pristine hydro-geological land structure, has already caused serious environmental damage in many geographical areas worldwide. Thus, designing the territory in the full respect of Nature that surrounds us is a priority nor just an 'eco-friendly' trend.
Architecture has been constantly evolving showing a growing awareness on the impacts that human construction can have on biodiversity and ecosystems giving life to Bio-Architecture and Bio-Design. The Principality of Monaco is investing in environmentally friendly innovative architecture. To name one, Villa Nuvola designed by the avant-garde architect Jean Pierre Lott is a unique five-storey building unveiled in 2017 as a remarkable example of luxury residence inspired by nature both outside and inside. Urban greeneries, waterfalls and the roof gardens make the 8,600 square feet space benefiting from a regenerative cooling system, empowered by the nature-based interior design which favours large spaces illuminated by natural light.
“Bio-architecture cannot simply be attributed to any type of construction, it is much more. It expresses a strong alliance between Architect and Nature, the awareness that we all share a much larger dimension”, underlined Markus Tauber, South Tirol architect fond of a new nature-based philosophy of building, restructuring and living.
Outcomes like these are the fruit of a long journey of architectural planning. The pioneering statu nascenti by Ugo Sasso and Wittfrida Mitterer was already convinced to “build, design, preserve, use good, clean and suitable materials” to guarantee “a housing stock whose beauty can be transmittable in its durability” (Giovanni Pieretti). Urban architecture, in particular, can really influence the lifestyles of citizens as showcased by relevant experiments involving cognitive psychology. Mimicking natural processes is then able to make the architect act as an environmental communicator.
Spiro Kostof, historian and architect stated: “the primary task of the architect, then as now, is to communicate what proposed buildings should be and look like”. Mitterer speaks about “new Humanism” of the architecture that from the individualistic ecocriteria of the Bauhaus, interprets space and time making a square, a house and any other space, a place where to socialise. The advent of renewable sources in respect to traditional fossil fuels, the development of hydrogen technology, the coming back to sustainable agriculture and the use of solar energy have given a further boost to the development of eco-buildings and whole green quarters.
Today is no longer a utopia anymore. We think of the Bosco Verticale —Vertical Wood, a residential building in the urban area of Milan (near Isola district), designed by Stefano Boeri for Boeri Studio, in order to regenerate the Environment through an unusual shape of vertical urban reforestation. The two towers (110 m and 76 m height) host in the terraced spaces 900 high trunk trees (from 3 to 9 m height) plus more than 20,000 plants and bushes, following a ratio linked to the hours of sunshine on the facades during the day. The unusual vertical 'urban forest' provides a microclimate able to maintain a correct degree of humidity, to absorb CO2 and to filter fine pollutant particles, besides representing a new habitat for birds and insects. A climate-mitigation project that answers “the human need of contacting nature”. This is the motivation of the International Highrise Award given to Bosco Verticale by the Architecture Museum of Frankfurt in 2014.
'Theatre of Nature' by Coldefy and CRA Carlo Ratti Associati will combine human and natural architecture in one symbiotic habitat at Osaka Expo 2025.
Bio-architecture is again in turmoil and an incoming project is raising high expectations. It results from the perfect union of creativity, technology, sustainability and it will represent France at Expo Osaka 2025 "Empowering Life", the Universal Exhibition which will be held in Japan from the 13th April to the 13th October 2025. The 'Theatrum Naturae’ or 'Theatre of Nature' by the French architecture Studio Coldefy and CRA Carlo Ratti Associati is going to plunge visitors into a multiple ecosystem arena merging natural and artificial habitats, totally recyclable and reusable. The architectural structure will play as the metaphor of the French "contribution to culture and the natural environment in the 21st century".
Carlo Ratti, leading Architect and Engineer, Curator of the Biennale Archittetura 2025, has recently pointed out: « As we attempt to address the changing role of expos today in the context of the climate crisis, we must seek new ways to imagine the relationship between the natural and artificial. By combining different forms of intelligence, whether organic or technological, we can redefine connections between people and nature ».
Thomas Coldefy, founding partner of Coldefy, stressed: «The French Pavilion invites visitors to enter the theater of life. Both actors and spectators in this production, visitors traverse a path through the Pavilion that stages the essential symbiosis between humanity's technological and natural environments, ultimately urging them to become aware of the vital necessity of our connection to nature ».
Ascent, Discovery and Nature will be the three levels of structural interpretation centred on an "arc de scène" that will pop up to an observation balcony through a sensual staircase in order to generate an infinite loop, culminating on a landscaped garden to form a circular frame acting as a natural protective barrier. Then, visitors will be able to experience all the ecosystems present on French territory in one place, from mountains to coastal rivieras to reconnect with nature and celebrate biodiversity in its pivotal life-generating role. ***
By Maurice Abbati
Springer International Publishing