ZHA unveils LEED Gold-targeted OPPO headquarters in Shenzhen

February 3, 2020 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects has won an international competition to design Chinese tech giant OPPO’s new headquarters in Shenzhen, China. Defined by the firm’s signature curvilinear features, the new office complex will comprise four interconnected towers with rounded shapes evocative of giant missiles. Wrapped in glass and filled with natural light, the tapered towers will target LEED Gold certification and are expected to break ground later this year, with completion planned in early 2025. Since launching its first phone in 2008, OPPO has grown to become China’s leading smartphone manufacturer and the fifth largest worldwide with over 40,000 employees in more than 40 countries. The new headquarters in Shenzhen reflects this meteoric growth and the company’s investment in innovative research with its futuristic design. The architects have developed the architectural design with 3D Building Information Modeling (BIM) and energy management systems to optimize efficiencies. Related: ZHA completes LEED Gold-targeted building with world’s largest atrium in Beijing Spanning an area of 185,000 square meters, the new OPPO headquarters will reach a height of 200 meters and 42 floors in its tallest tower. Two towers connected by a 20-story vertical lobby will comprise flexible, open-plan office spaces and will be flanked by two external service towers housing vertical circulation. The towers are oriented for optimal views over Shenzhen Bay — a 10th-floor Sky Plaza and rooftop Sky Lab will provide publicly accessible viewing areas — and are tapered inward at the bottom to make room for large civic spaces at street level that will include a landscaped plaza, art gallery, shops, restaurants and a direct link to a nearby subway station. “Locating the towers’ service cores externally frees the center of each floor from obstructions, providing uninterrupted views throughout the building that will enhance interaction between employees,” the firm explained in a statement. “Large atrium spaces unite all occupants through visual connectivity, helping to foster collaboration between different departments of the company. The abundance of natural light, varied working environments and diversity of routes for staff and visitors to move through the building are all conducive to creative engagement and spontaneity.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images via Zaha Hadid Architects

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ZHA unveils LEED Gold-targeted OPPO headquarters in Shenzhen

Portugal-based nonprofit refurbishes old buildings with natural insulation

February 3, 2020 by  
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With a background in social initiatives, nonprofit Critical Concrete aims to refurbish socially relevant spaces that are shared by low-income communities in Portugal. In addition to refurbishing homes for those in need, Critical Concrete is also focused on educating the local community on sustainable actions and earth-friendly practices by running several different educational programs and activities. The organization promotes green architecture and social action through a summer school program that refurbishes a home for a family in need every year. In August, 32 students from 20 countries were brought together for three intense weeks, with a plan to establish a model to refurbish housing through sustainable methods. With the help of 15 experienced mentors and support from the team at Critical Concrete, the group worked on a home in the Bairro dos Pescadores (Fishermen’s Neighborhood) of Matosinhos in northern Porto. The old quarter was originally built for fishermen and their families around the turn of the 20th century. Related: Derelict property transformed into a vibrant, sunny hostel in Portugal To ensure that the theories behind the actions were being absorbed as well, students spent Tuesdays and Thursdays attending lectures by the program mentors, who were experts in architecture , new ways of building and urban perspective. Critical Concrete has made these lectures available on its Youtube channel , so anyone can learn more about these topics. Along with cooperation from the Municipality of Matosinhos, Critical Concrete also worked alongside public organization MatosinhosHabit, who contributed the cost of materials. The original building was constructed in the 1930s and is a representation of typical homes found around the Bairro dos Pescadores neighborhood, as in it is built without insulation . Previously, the nonprofit had used materials such as mycelium and wool to create an insulation solution for these types of structures, but in 2019, Critical Concrete started working with a new mixture of cardboard and lime. While this blend proved to be the most durable solution, it was also quite arduous. First, the cardboard is wetted and shredded, then mixed with sand, hydraulic and hydrated lime and plaster. Finally, the mix is applied to the formwork molds of the structure and dried. Though the transformation of even one house per year is impressive enough, Critical Concrete hopes to convert even more homes through additional projects in the future and have a more positive influence on similar communities throughout Portugal . + Critical Concrete Images via Critical Concrete

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Portugal-based nonprofit refurbishes old buildings with natural insulation

Egyptian pavilion proposal for 2020 Venice Biennale targets climate change

February 3, 2020 by  
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According to the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, climate change and poaching are putting approximately 70 animal species in the country at risk of extinction. In a bid to highlight Egypt’s biodiversity crisis and environmental threats, international design collective Cosmos Architecture submitted a climate change-focused design proposal to the Egyptian Ministry of Culture’s design competition for the Egyptian pavilion at the 2020 Venice Biennale. The project was selected as a runner-up in late December 2019. Cosmos Architecture’s Egyptian pavilion proposal comprises a small entry area in the front, an open-plan main exhibition space, a screening area and storage space. The minimalist pavilion explores two main topics: the negative aspects of the Anthropocene, the proposed geological epoch defined by human influence, such as climate change and deforestation; and case studies of current technologies and solutions that aim to “balance ecological diversity in Egypt … and create a new symbiotic urban environment.” Related: Immersive, dystopian exhibit shows what life could be like post-climate change The architects have dubbed the case study projects and proposed environmentally friendly solutions “watermarks” and propose projecting some of these example projects inside steel mesh installations that hang from the ceiling to educate pavilion visitors. The case studies cover a range of topics, from conservation of natural habitats to the sensitive adaptive reuse of post-industrial sites. “The case studies that were examined to represent the good watermarks in Egypt were done so with the intention of researching how different places are reacting and responding to the effects of Anthropocenic climate-related phenomena (i.e. loss of habitat , scarcity of farmable land from overgrazing, species extinction and industrial scars),” explained the project team, which comprises Mohamed Hassan El-Gendy, Sameh Zayed, Pietro Paolo Speziale, Juan Martinez, David Sastre and Nader Moro. “What the selected case studies will tell us is that designing for climate change comes in many different forms.” + Cosmos Architecture Images via Cosmos Architecture

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Egyptian pavilion proposal for 2020 Venice Biennale targets climate change

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