A few days ago, Foster + Partners released design details of their newest mixed-use project in Astana, Kazakhstan — Abu Dhabi Plaza. This clustered matrix of multi-level buildings will include retail, leisure, hotel, office, and residential uses. David Nelson, Senior Executive and Head of Design at Foster + Partners said, "We are extremely excited to be working on this important project for Astana that will provide a new urban destination – visually and functionally. The design has resulted from a rigorous analysis of the city’s extreme climate, which has generated the unusual cluster diagram and has determined a façade that is both distinctive and highly efficient." In this geography, the temperature can get as cold as -40 degrees Celsius, and Foster + Partners found that the compact situation of buildings helped to maximize thermal insulation during the harsh winter months. The development also includes a series of temperate, year-round gardens with a network of sheltered pedestrian routes throughout the site. Light shafts between the blocks will have laminated glass panels that shower colorful light, shadows, and patterns on the lower levels.
Today, Michelle Kaufmann Designs officially announced their newest home, the mkLoft. MkLoft is a townhouse loft home with 2 bedrooms, 1 loft, and 2 bathrooms, all wrapped up in a modern package. The home has double-height living space, comes solar-ready, and has all the wonderful, green materials and interior details that come standard in MKD homes: high-performance mechanical systems, low-flow plumbing fixtures, fsc-certified cabinetry, etc.
One of the cool things about mkLoft is its scalability. Units can be 2-story or 3-story, live/work or residential, and the lower level can be parking, retail, or studio. You name it. You can have one or one hundred units, depending on your project needs. Developers can rely on the expertise of MKD for predictability in time and cost. mkLoft prices out at $130 – $140 psf, and you’re in the lower price range if the project calls for +40 units. mkLoft is the ultimate multifamily solution for developers wanting to go green.
Floor-to-ceiling glass panels, accented with glass and metal fins … this is 555 Mission Street. The base of the building will have a public plaza with a so called "garden of light"– an organic, living space with fiber-optic light wands. The 33-floor building is will be state-of-the-art and with all those windows, it’ll need to filter the natural light without burning up the interior in the summer. Slated for completion in the third quarter of 2008, the building will have dual-panel, insulated glazing windows with low-e coating. In total, 555 Mission Street will have approximately 550,000 rentable square feet and what seems to be incredible views of the city and the bay — I really like this first image below. Word is, the building will be LEED certified,
although I haven’t been able to verify that or the level of planned certification. See updates below.
In China, there’s a massive exodus from the rural to urban areas, but it’s controlled because the country doesn’t have enough housing for everyone that wants to live in a city. At the same time, urbanization accentuates the air and soil pollution problems. So, Knafo Klimor Architects proposed an agro-housing project that blends agriculture and high-rise housing in one structure. This agro-housing project brings the food-supply directly to the building, and to the extent that residents can realize the benefits of urban farming, there is a decreased reliance on transportation for agricultural products (shopping and delivery to stores). Plus, with the building’s integrated water capture systems, the project has the potential to reduce water consumption and runoff. Residents could make money off the crops, too.
This agro-housing project is going to be built in Wuhan, China. As you can see from the renderings, the building has quite the elaborate labyrinth to control water, air, and heat. Structurally, it will be made with SIPs and a majority of the materials will come from steel, aluminum, and terracotta — all materials that can be recycled at the end of the building’s life. Via Dwell.
Foster + Partners is at it again with another sweeping master plan in some exotic location — this time, it’s a 150,000 square meter city block in downtown Singapore. The scheme incorporates commercial, residential, retail, and two high-end hotels, the total package of which could achieve the Green Mark Platinum Rating, which is the highest rating under Singapore’s main green building rating system. The ground-level canopy is blanketed with a ribbon-like structure that forms a series of vertical louvres. These filter the sun and provide a framework for the planting which will transform the towers into a series of vertically linked green spaces. Interestingly, the buildings’ slanted facades are oriented, rather exactly calculated, to catch wind and direct it downwards to cool the canopy level. It’s amazing to look at, and I bet it will be quite the gathering place.
I received an email from a reader recently about the progress of 300 North LaSalle, which is a 60-story office tower under construction at the northwest corner of North LaSalle Street and the Chicago River in Chicago. It received LEED-CS Gold pre-certification and should be ready for occupation near January 2009. Back in 2005, developer Hines signed Kirkland & Ellis to occupy a mind-numbing 24 floors. (too many lawyers in Chicago?) The rest of the building, comprising about 400,000 sf will be available for lease. And unlike many of the wicked shapes we see in some green buildings, the pragmatic, modern 25,000 rsf floor plates are good for tenants that like to use what they’re paying for. The building was designed by Pickard Chilton, an architectural firm that is becoming increasingly known for their green office and professional buildings. I’ve included some interesting background and images/renderings below.