Lonely Planet Writer

This amazing tree-covered building under construction in Shanghai is already attracting attention

It’s rare for a building to attract this much attention while still only under construction. But this new complex in the Chinese city of Shanghai is already wooing visitors because of its remarkably green appearance.

The '1000 Trees' project is being compared to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The ‘1000 Trees’ complex under construction in Shanghai. Image by: Feature China / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The enormous development – called 1000 Trees – is being built with hundreds of full-size trees planted on its roof and atop columns.

Shanghai’s tree-covered building is already turning heads. Image by Noah Sheldon

The building sits next to Shanghai’s famous M50 art enclave where the studios of more than a hundred painters, sculptors and other artists are open to the public. The spectacular development is nearing completion as you can see from this drone video, which was shot in the last few weeks.

The 1000 Trees project covers a massive area of 15 acres just beside Suzhou Creek and a public park in Shanghai. The Heatherwick Studio, who are behind it, said: “[It] is conceived not only as a building but as a piece of topography and takes the form of two tree-covered mountains, populated by hundreds of columns. Rather than hiding the columns which provide structural support, the columns emerge at the top of the building as large planters, each holding a handful of trees.”

The Shanghai building will be covered in 1000 trees. Image by Noah Sheldon

The development will be used for housing, offices, as well as shops, hotel rooms and a school. The Heatherwick Studio is well known for its imaginative designs with one of its latest projects the dramatic transformation of an abandoned concrete grain silo into an art museum and hotel in Capetown, South Africa.

Other famous works include the iconic Olympic Cauldron for London’s 2012 Olympiad, futuristic Routemaster red buses for London, and a gin distillery for Bombay Sapphire in Hampshire in England.

The amazing building in China is covered in trees and is already garnering attention. Image by Noah Sheldon

Also under construction at the moment is a giant sixteen-storey piece of public sculpture called Vessel in New York’s Hudson Yards. The giant beehive structure will be 50 metres high with 154 separate flights of stairs and 2500 individual steps, and can be climbed by the public once opened next year.