This colorful prefab school was created in only 13 months

May 13, 2020 by  
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When  Crossboundaries  was tapped to design the Jinlong School, an educational campus with classrooms and dorms in Shenzhen’s newly established Pingshan district, the Beijing-based architecture firm was challenged by a limited budget and a scheduled opening date in only 13 months. To adhere to the tight deadline, the architects enlisted a local Shenzhen-based factory to prefabricate the majority of the school’s construction. Prefabrication not only allowed the architects to meet the brief’s budget and timeline, but also kept on-site construction waste to a minimum as well.  Completed in January 2020, the Jinlong School comprises 36 classrooms, dormitories, sports facilities, a canteen, office space, a theater, a library and other amenities on a compact 16,000-square-meter site. Following a five-month design period, construction took place from November 2018 to August 2010; approximately 75% of the project used prefabricated components. Created to help ease  Shenzhen’s  public school shortage, the campus is expected to enroll 1,620 students by 2025.  To show that prefab architecture doesn’t have to be boring, the architects created a dynamic facade punctuated with different colors and windows of varying sizes with protruding metal frames. Yellow accent colors were used to define areas of socialization, such as common areas in the dorms, while the color blue indicates circulation spaces such as hallways and stairwells. The dormitories and classrooms were primarily built from prefabricated components and the public spaces, such as the running track at the heart of the campus, were mainly constructed with conventional techniques. Related: MVRDV designs a sustainable “urban living room” for Shenzhen The campus design also responds to Shenzhen’s subtropical climate with the public areas mostly open to the outdoors to promote access to natural ventilation and daylight. “We were extremely intrigued to take on this project, to create a human, people-oriented school within all those limitations, and at the same time to still be as creative as possible, in designing a space that provides a solution for a realistic problem that we all have to face in quickly expanding cities in the future,” Hao Dong, Founding Partner of Crossboundaries, said. + Crossboundaries Images by Yang Chaoying

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This colorful prefab school was created in only 13 months

MVRDV designs a sustainable urban living room for Shenzhen

March 27, 2020 by  
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Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has unveiled its competition-winning designs for the Shimao ShenKong International Centre, a new “three-dimensional urban living room” for the heart of Shenzhen’s Longgang district. Selected from nearly 30 competition entries, the winning proposal, also known as the Shenzhen Terraces, will introduce over 20 programs to a thriving university neighborhood. The project also focuses on sustainability and will integrate passive design principles, native landscaping, recycled materials and solar panels.  Named after its architecture of stacked plateaus, the Shenzhen Terraces project references forms of the nearby mountains while its predominately horizontal lines and curvaceous shapes provide a visual contrast with the vertical lines and hard edges of the surrounding high-rises. The terraced design also creates opportunities for large overhangs to mitigate solar gain as well as spacious terraces filled with plants and water basins for cooling microclimates . Bridge elements link various buildings to create a continuous elevated route.  Related: ZHA unveils LEED Gold-targeted OPPO headquarters in Shenzhen “ Shenzhen has developed so quickly since its origins in the 1970s,” said Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “In cities like this, it is essential to carefully consider how public spaces and natural landscape can be integrated into the densifying cityscape. The urban living room of the Shimao ShenKong International Centre will be a wonderful example of this, and could become a model for the creation of key public spaces in New Town developments throughout Shenzhen. It aims to make an area that you want be outside, hang out and meet, even when it is hot — a literally cool space for the university district, where all communication space can be outside. It will truly be a public building.” As a sustainable hub, the 101,300-square-meter Shenzhen Terraces will be home to a pedestrian-friendly landscape, a bus terminal and a mixture of functions — such as an art gallery, library, conference center and outdoor theater — conveniently placed near high-rise housing, commercial complexes and educational facilities. The landscaping, designed in collaboration with Openfabric, will mimic the curvaceous architecture and will feature native sub-tropical plants and recreation zones.  + MVRDV Images by Atchain via MVRDV

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MVRDV designs a sustainable urban living room for Shenzhen

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

Tencent gets proposal from MVRDV for green smart city

January 27, 2020 by  
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After two years of development,  MVRDV  has unveiled its competition entry for Chinese tech giant Tencent’s next campus — a green and futuristic smart city shaped like a continuous undulating mountain range. Located on a 133-hectare site in Shenzhen’s Qianhai Bay, the nature-inspired development combines references to the lush, mountainous surroundings with Tencent’s cutting-edge technology. The massive urban district is expected to include enough office space for 80,000 to 100,000 employees, public amenities, a conference center and homes for 19,000 Tencent employees.  Although Tencent recently completed their current Shenzhen headquarters, the Tencent Seafront Towers, the company’s meteoric growth and technological ambitions spurred them to launch a design competition for yet another headquarters in  Shenzhen  that would take the shape of an enormous smart city district. In developing their competition entry for the Tencent Campus, MVRDV conducted intensive research and created 28 different outline designs. Their final proposal not only includes the key qualities of smart cities, such as innovation and adaptability, but also incorporates green technology, from solar energy to the introduction of autonomous cars and a shuttle bus loop as the main means of transit. MVRDV’s proposal envisions the Tencent campus as a grid of over 100 buildings topped with an undulating roof of  solar  panels. Sky bridges link certain buildings to create a continuous surface reminiscent of a mountain range, while a waterfront park at the foot of the buildings emphasizes the campus’ connection to Qianhai Bay to the east. The park is also home to many of the urban district’s public buildings, including a school and kindergarten, a sports center and a data center. A rock-shaped conference center bookends the southern side of the park. The “beating heart” of the development is a spherical information plaza that will display data related to the everyday functioning of the campus, from occupancy rates to carbon usage.  Related: BIG presents a sustainable “living laboratory” town in Japan for Toyota at CES “Our studies and competition entry for Tencent are an attempt to show that the smart city is also the green city,” Winy Mass, MVRDV founding partner, said. “With ubiquitous smart city elements, headlined by a futuristic data hub at the heart of the campus, Tencent employees would feel enveloped by technology. But they are also literally surrounded by nature, with the serpentine park always within a short walking distance, and green terraces all around them.” + MVRDV Images by Atchain and MVRDV

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Henning Larsen wins bid to design a sustainable business district for Shenzhen

May 13, 2019 by  
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Danish architectural firm Henning Larsen Architects has won an international competition for the design of the Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City, a new district in the southern Chinese city spanning 5.5 million square meters. Working alongside two other local firms, Henning Larsen’s green and sustainable master plan will help cement Shenzhen  — often likened to China’s Silicon Valley — as the innovation center of the country. A critical part of the Shenzhen Bay Headquarters City is reconnecting the business district with the waterfront and emphasizing the pedestrian urban realm — something that Chinese planning authorities have long overlooked in favor of vehicular traffic. In Henning Larsen’s approach, cars will be relegated to an underground network of roads and highways so that commuter cars will rarely be seen aboveground in public areas. Moreover, the master plan’s central organizing axis will consist of a linear waterway that visually and physically connects the district to two larger bodies of water. “Our design aims to make Shenzhen the waterfront city it should always have been,” said Claude Godefroy, partner and design director of Henning Larsen’s Hong Kong Office. “To create an attractive waterfront, we brought commercial and cultural facilities meters away from the seashore, so citizens will finally be able to enjoy the atmosphere of Shenzhen Bay in an activated urban environment, like in Sydney, Singapore or Copenhagen.” Related: MVRDV unveils a “three-dimensional city” skyscraper for Shenzhen The architects also want to introduce a more “porous urban fabric.” Rather than create massive shopping malls that sit beneath tall buildings, Henning Larsen proposes siting smaller buildings between the towers and tucking retail partially underground. The city’s porous nature will optimize access to sea breezes to combat the urban heat island effect . As part of its “Forest City” vision for the master plan, the firm also plans to introduce 10,000 trees, roof gardens and ground-level bioswales to help cool the environment and create habitats for birds and insects. + Henning Larsen Images via Henning Larsen

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Henning Larsen wins bid to design a sustainable business district for Shenzhen

This canopy walkway elevates Shenzhen library-goers into the treetops

August 20, 2018 by  
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A new pagoda-like library in China’s megacity of Shenzhen sweeps visitors above the tree canopy with an elevated walkway. Located in Xiangmi Park, a densely forested area originally used as an agricultural research center, the Xiangmi Park Science Library celebrates its verdant surroundings with a “treetop walk” and an abundance of glazing. International architecture and design firm MLA+ led the design of the library and visitor center, and ZEN landscape architects handled the landscape design. Completed in 2017 in Shenzhen’s central Futian District, the Xiangmi Park Science Library covers an area of 1,500 square meters. The park had been protected from urban encroachment for 35 years and includes a large lychee orchard on a hill, fishponds, a flower market and a rich diversity of local flora and fauna. The architects have compared the site to an “undiscovered treasure box in the middle of a metropolis” and thus aimed to preserve and enhance the natural environment as much as possible. Drawing inspiration from classical Chinese garden architecture, the pagoda-like library building is made from steel and glass for an airy and lightweight feel; the cantilevered elements provide solar shading and reference local architecture. In addition to library stacks, the building includes a meeting room, a reading area, terraces and administrative offices. Related: BIG completes an energy-efficient sculptural skyscraper in Shenzhen “Perched in between the trees , the building offers an ever-changing experience of its surrounding landscape,” the firm said. “This experience varies from floor to floor. With its dematerialized ground floor, it becomes a part of the shaded forest floor. Structural elements blend with the surrounding tree trunks. Upper levels sit in between the dense canopy of leaves and therefore have a more enclosed, intimate feeling. The very top floor offers the views of the surroundings and the city. Experiencing the library is like climbing a tree — a tree of knowledge.” + MLA+ Images © Vlad Feoktistov

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This canopy walkway elevates Shenzhen library-goers into the treetops

Winding boulevard in the sky to snake through Shenzhen

April 3, 2018 by  
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An elevated mile-long park has been unveiled for Shenzhen , China. Envisioned as a “meandering skydeck,” this “boulevard in the sky” is part of HASSELL’s competition-winning masterplan for a mixed-use precinct within the new Qianhai business district. Flanked by greenery and overlooking views of the city, this elevated walkway will serve as an uninterrupted cycling and jogging path linking together cultural destinations across a new lushly planted greenway. Building on the success of elevated park projects and greenways around the world, the Qianhai Mawan Mile will be a multifunctional public space promoting the arts, retail, and public health. “This project is designed to engage people – particularly the young, mobile residents of this fast-changing area – and promote better health and social connections,” wrote HASSELL. “The masterplan consists of four integrated layers: above and below ground neighbourhood zones, a continuous park, a series of pavilion buildings and a skydeck weaving through it all.” Related: Breathable skin to wrap around stunning light-filled Book City in Shenzhen The Qianhai Mawan Mile comprises three main layers in 3.36 hectares of green space with over a hundred programmatic features. Whereas the skydeck above serves primarily as a circulation route and exercise area, the ground level greenway will be split into a variety of passive and active zones with gardens, children’s play areas, group exercise spaces, and piazzas with cafes as well as performance venues and art installations. A major entertainment precinct will be placed below ground with direct access to multiple metro concourses. A new cultural district with three pavilions will anchor the Qianhai Mawan Mile’s south end. + HASSELL Studio Via ArchDaily Images via HASSELL Studio

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Winding boulevard in the sky to snake through Shenzhen

Dubai announces plans for world’s biggest waste-to-energy facility

February 1, 2018 by  
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Dubai plans to deal with their garbage in a bold new way: with the largest waste-to-energy plant in the world. Gulf News and New Atlas reported the government announced plans for a facility that will handle as much as two million tons of solid waste yearly. That’s around 60 percent of the trash Dubai produces in a year. With a 185 megawatt (MW) capacity, the plant will generate power for around 120,000 homes. Dubai’s launching an ambitious effort to turn junk into energy . The waste-to-energy plant will treat around 5,000 metric tons every single day, and will generate as much power as 2,000 skyscrapers as big as the Burj Khalifa could consume – roughly two percent of Dubai’s annual electricity consumption, according to the Government of Dubai Media Office . Related: World’s largest waste-to-energy plant in China will be topped with green roofs and photovoltaics Dubai will raise the waste-to-energy plant on five acres of land, and will partner with Switzerland-based waste-to-energy technology company Hitachi Zosen Inova and Belgian construction company BESIX on the project. HV 132kV cables will connect the plant to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)’s grid. DEWA CEO Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer told Gulf News, “This will be a new source of [power] supply for Dubai. This will improve security of supply.” Construction will commence in a few months, according to Dubai Municipality director general Hussain Nasser Lootah, and the plant should be operating before World Expo 2020 . There is another waste-to-energy plant in progress vying for the title of world’s largest planned for Shenzhen , China; Inhabitat covered its green design here . Both could be finished in 2020. New Atlas reported the Shenzhen plant is still on track to claim the prize, but if the Dubai project reaches its goals, it could snag the title, with an output around 20 MW greater than the Shenzhen plant. Via New Atlas and Government of Dubai Media Office via Gulf News Images via BESIX

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