The word “heaven” refers to nature.Global warming is affecting human settlements from time to time. Green buildings that are in harmony with nature, where people, buildings and nature are all in harmony and sustainable, may be one of the ways to sustain human existence.
From Zaha Hadid, Panmure and Kengo Kuma to NBBJ, Snøhetta and MVRDV, let’s follow the architects’ footsteps and explore their thoughts on a green future.
The valley that will soon break out of the ground
VALLEY, a 75,000 sqm all-green terrace complex in the heart of Amsterdam’s new commercial development, is a grand canyon that has been created by Dutch architects MVRDV. The combination of design and functionality, the human dimension of the design and the balance between the natural environment and the local business district atmosphere make it an impressive masterpiece.
The project is clearly targeted towards the BREEAM Dutch Excellent and WELL Shell & Core certification levels. The rich variety of outdoor spaces and communal green gardens not only promote a healthy lifestyle, but also strongly emphasise the concept of sustainability.
The plants are grown in ravines and the staggered planters are equipped with automatic watering systems, which reuse the collected rainwater to save energy.
MVRDV’s Green House project also emphasises social care and sustainable design.
The open terraced roof terrace of the Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market in Tainan, which is being developed by MVRDV, is an eye-catching concept that integrates the commercial area with nature and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
Photo Eden in the Sky
Singapore, known as the ‘Garden City’, has gone to great lengths to design its buildings sustainably, and this is why a green residential high-rise, Eden, has been created. The 23-metre-high, shell-shaped high-rise was designed by the renowned British architectural firm Heatherwick Studio.
Called EDEN, each resident will have a ‘private Eden in the Sky’ balcony with carefully selected tropical plants and a 270-degree view of the landscape, while still allowing for privacy.
This is the first residential project in Asia to be completed by the ‘genius’ British architect Thomas Heatherwick. It exemplifies his unconventional yet practical design style and confirms his team’s definition of style as ‘practical inventors without a signature style’.
Lotus Olympic Sports Centre
Located on the banks of the Qiantang River opposite the new business district of Hangzhou, China, the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre consists of a main stadium and a small tennis stadium. Roughly the same size as the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, but using 60% less steel, the building was created by NBBJ, a leading architectural firm in Los Angeles, USA.
The building has a capacity of 80,000 people and is supported by a steel framework of 56 interwoven petals (28 of different sizes each). The most significant feature is that less than two thirds of the steel used is used in venues of similar size and capacity.
The petal shape is derived from the white lotus flower on the banks of the Qiantang River, and the structure is woven in a symbiotic organic form to achieve the silk-like texture of the South China Sea. The petal-like outer skin is broken down into a series of interconnected sections that act as both maintenance and load-bearing structures, achieving an organic combination of form and function.
40m high waterfall airport
Singapore Changi Airport, which is open 365 days a year, has been repeatedly voted ‘World’s Best Airport’ in the Skytrax WorldAirport Awards and is more of a garden than an airport. It’s more like a garden. It has the first climate-controlled indoor forest, which not only reduces the temperature around the airport, but also improves the air quality inside the building.
It also has the world’s tallest ‘indoor waterfall’, a system of ‘rain vortex’ in which water pours down from an open eyelet in the centre of the domed roof, seven storeys high. The collected rainwater can be used to water plants and trees, as a fire extinguishing system and for flushing toilets. Even the internal cooling circulation system uses recycled water.
In addition, Changi Airport has more than a dozen energy-saving facilities and operations to reduce resource consumption and reuse energy, contributing to sustainable development.
The world’s greenest office building
Foster + Partners completed Bloomberg’s new European headquarters building between two historic buildings, the Bank of England and St Paul’s Cathedral, for which designer Norman Foster personally selected historic marble that was cut and polished several times over a period of seven years.
“We believe that environmentally friendly practices are as important to us as they are to the planet.” — Michael R. Bloomberg, founder
With a strong focus on environmental protection and energy efficiency, the building is one of the best examples of sustainability and has been awarded the BREEAM ‘Outstanding Rating’ award, making it the highest rated office project to date. Bloomberg has achieved 73% water savings over similarly sized office buildings through rainwater harvesting, and the use of 500,000 LED lights saves 40% of energy compared to conventional light sources.
The façade features a series of large bronze ‘fans’ that open and close to regulate indoor temperature, humidity and filter air, while also reducing noise and sound pollution. By controlling the natural breeze, it effectively eliminates the need for indoor ventilation facilities, thus saving energy and controlling the flow at source.
Pictures of the world’s cleanest refuse collection point
The Amager Resource Centre is a waste-to-energy plant located in the industrial area of Copenhagen, which has been transformed into a “dumping ground for fun” by BIG over the years. The greatest inspiration from BIG is not just to treat the Amager Resource Centre as an isolated object, but to strengthen the relationship between the building and the city.
“A sustainable city is not only environmentally friendly, but also enriches the lives of its citizens.” — Bjarke Ingels
The integration of hedonistic sustainability into the lives of the people is one of the best things about the design of the Copenhagen Power Station, a building that seems to have become a cornerstone of the city’s social life. Its facades can be climbed, its roofs can be walked on and its slopes can be skied.
The Copenhagen Power Station shows us a sample of the future of living. Will our future be a friendly dance with ‘waste’, open to the reuse of energy, thus adding a different dimension to our lives?
The 7 Wonders of the New World
Auntie Za’s work is a masterpiece! Beijing Daxing Airport, known as the “7 Wonders of the New World”, has adopted the concept of environmental protection and energy saving in the construction of the entire airport, with its HVAC system, lighting system and water supply system all designed to be green and sustainable.
The airport’s rainwater sponge facilities have a total volume of 2.8 million cubic metres, equivalent to 1.5 Kunming lakes, with a rainwater re-infiltration rate of no less than 40%, and there is also a “ground source heat pump project”, which can use shallow underground geothermal resources to provide indoor heating, saving nearly 20 million cubic metres of natural gas each year.
A total of 12,800 pieces of glass were used throughout the terminal, including 8,000 pieces of glass for the entire curved roof. The neatly arranged aluminium mesh has different angles according to the curved surface of the roof, which not only avoids strong sunlight, but also meets the natural lighting needs of the terminal and greatly saves the use of lighting facilities.
A growing urban complex
Kengo Kuma’s latest masterpiece has grown on Australian soil, the building hidden in its surroundings and growing within the environment is a design philosophy he has continued to pursue in his work. Resembling a cocoon on the inside and a bird’s nest on the outside, the building features 20 kilometres of circular timber as spiralling timber walls that run deep to form an organic building shell, adding a natural beauty to the heart of Sydney.
The material used for the façade is environmentally sustainable accoya technology timber, which grows quickly and uses very little energy and water, and amazingly remains impervious to decay and 100% naturally degradable for 50 years!
A tribute to Swiss watches
The Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has designed a ‘snake-like’ office building for the Swiss watch group Swatch, with a total shell length of 240 metres, a width of 35 metres and a height of 27 metres, which slithers its way into the building.
The façade is covered with a timber frame consisting of 4600 individual wooden elements, sourced from a local Swiss regenerated spruce forest, using up to 1997 cubic metres of timber. In Switzerland, where the forest cover is so high, this amount of wood can be regenerated in just two hours. The wooden cross is not only a symbol of Switzerland as a decoration but also serves as a noise receptacle.
The design and workmanship of the building is similar to the delicate assembly of a watch, with skilled workers assembling the wood, which has been polished in 3D, using the principle of mortise and tenon. This is a tribute to Swiss watchmaking, which is also a tribute to Swiss manufacturing!
Architecture that changed the world
Snøhetta’s office in the Norwegian fjords has been described as a ‘world-changing building’, generating twice as much energy as it consumed when it was built. The office building is located in the harbour overlooking the Trondheim Fjord. The building also acts as a ‘mini power plant’ in the city, providing a constant source of renewable energy for its own and nearby buildings, electric buses, cars and boats via a local microgrid.
“Energy-efficient buildings are the buildings of the future. The design industry’s mantra should not be ‘form follows function’, but ‘form follows context’. This means that today’s design thinking should focus first and foremost on environmental factors and reducing the amount of floor space we use.” says Snøhetta founder Kjetil TrædalThorsen.
In order to ensure that as much solar energy as possible is harvested, the designers have designed the building’s upper facade specifically as a bizarre pentagonal roof with a 19-degree slope to ensure maximum solar energy collection. The roof is covered with a total of 3,000 square metres of solar panels, and Snøhetta has thus created a new and distinctive form of architecture.
In addition to this, Snøhetta has designed Norway’s first energy-efficient hotel at the foot of the Svartisen glacier – Svart, a name inspired by the glacier, which means ‘black’ in Norwegian, and inspired by the Norwegian fishing industry. Also known as the ‘positive energy hotel’ because it produces far more energy than it consumes, the hotel is expected to open in 2022.
“This will be the most environmentally friendly hotel in the world!” says architect Zenul Khan. Compared to modern hotels, it will consume around 85% less energy per year and generate a lot of its own energy!