Office for Living Architecture


The Tree Path is an elevated bicycle route that runs in-between trees, resting on two parallel rows of plants that act as pillars. Set in the Italian countryside, the project leads to Sabbioneta – one of the country’s best-known UNESCO World Heritage Sites – and explores sustainable mobility while blending the natural and the artificial. People can walk or cycle on a lifted platform amidst treetops, while sensors embedded within the greenery track environmental conditions in real-time. The Tree Path will connect the VENTO Cycle Route, a 700-kilometer-long bicycle path that parallels the Po river across north Italy, with Sabbioneta, via the neighboring town of Casalmaggiore.

The project envisions planting roughly one thousand trees, whose growth would be a central element of the design process. The plants would grow around a stainless steel handrail, building and transforming the path structure over the course of several years. The Tree Path unfolds vertically on three different levels, rising up to six meters above the ground, bypassing road traffic and waterways.

The pathway incorporates digital sensors to measure multiple factors in the atmosphere, from air pollution to the health and growth status of individual trees. The sensors will also help ensure that all the living organisms along the path can respond to changing environmental conditions or structural loads – realizing a vision of an »Internet of trees”. The project will use the artificial intelligence system provided by the Mindicity Urban Intelligence platform.

»What if one day we could grow architecture like a tree? We are still very far from that future, but we can start exploring the convergence between the natural and the artificial. We can use trees as elements of construction, while leveraging the data from digital technologies to get a better understanding of the surrounding environment.«
Carlo Ratti, founding partner at CRA, and director of the Senseable City Lab at MIT.

Tree path

Baubotanik consultation

Sabbioneta, IT


CRA – Carlo Ratti Associati

Baubotanik consultant
OLA – Office for Living Architecture

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