Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on November 16, 2009
Lately, a mysterious building in the heart of Mumbai has been growing two floors a day. Literally growing. It’s covered in plants. It’s the greenest kept secret in India, until recently, when owner and oil tycoon Mukesh Ambani finally revealed his plans for what he purports to be the most environmentally friendly building in Mumbai. It’s called the Residence Antilia.
Architecture in Mumbai often looks very green in color because of the popular blend of modern Indian architecture and ancient Indian Vaastu, which calls for a lot of greenery in the design. In the Vaastu tradition, the spine of the building reaches up, towards enlightenment, and the foliage on the building creates “gardens-in-the-sky.” The Residence Antilia takes this concept to the extreme, creating the largest and tallest living wall in the world.
The plans show a variety of landscaping: garden tiers, terraces, waterfalls, ponds and recreational facilities. The Residence Antilia will be one of the tallest buildings in Mumbai, and all of the floors are included in the green wall. The views will also be spectacular, some of the best in the city.
It’s a stunning building. The ancient Indians were on to something; creating buildings that are living gardens are not without their environmental merit. The plants increase green space, reduce the urban heat effect and help absorb runoff from rainwater. These features are especially important in Mumbai, with its 13 million residents and propensity for flooding.
The Residence Antilia does call into question, however, the definition of green building. Yes, the building is the color green, but does it have any other green features? Because of the secrecy, it is possible that the other green features simply have not yet been released. But, the Residence Antilia is a good example of the need to examine green buildings closely, especially when they’re owned by an oil company.
The other side of this argument is that a building doesn’t have to be covered in PV panels, using only the energy from wind turbines and built with all recycled material to help solve the climate crisis. Even just creating a building that’s not a horrifying polluter is a good thing. The Residence Antilia is definitely a step in the right direction and a beautiful building to boot.