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.
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.
This is MOMO, a prefab concept designed by Thomas Lind. The word MOMO comes from the truncation of Modernistiskt Modulhuskoncept, which is Swedish for modern modular house concept. MOMO homes are put together using 107 sf modules that aren’t particularly made with any special green elements other than to be built with high quality, healthy materials. That said, the concept also calls for a living roof with a blend of native water-storing succulents and grasses. The large, wind-sail looking outdoor roof blurs the boundary between interior and exterior with shade and a congregational patio — and if you’re in the right climate, it’d be quite nice to chill in and out of the home. Modules price in at roughly $25,000 each, and the first MOMO summer houses will be built in Sweden in mid-2008. So, the final product won’t necessarily be huge, but it’s certain to be sufficient.
Sanya is a tropical oasis located on the Southern peninsula of Hainan Island. A Chinese developer, Tiafeng, has teamed up with Kevin Kennon Architect to design a healthy, luxurious development for Sanya. Check out some of the eye candy renderings below the fold…this is going to be a nice resort. Matter of fact, I feel healthier just imagining myself there. Slated to open in mid-2008, Sanya will include 350-room, 5-star Shangri-La Hotel, an 18-story apartment building, and a fluid, ribbon-like complex of 23 apartment and condo buildings. All the structures will have roof gardens. KKA specifically designed the development with privacy in mind, but opened up the architecture to the surrounding green space. The buildings are meant to flow and blend into the environment, as opposed to standing out in contrast to the natural surroundings. I can’t wait to see more specifics on this project. Via.
So I received from HarperCollins a copy of Ron Pernick + Clint Wilder’s latest book called The Clean Tech Revolution. I’m a big enthusiast of renewable technology because it has the potential to change the world of real estate and green living. Preliminarily, let me say that this book is an incredible read. Seriously. It’s smart and approachable. To get an idea of the breadth of the book, here are the chapter subjects: solar energy, wind power, biofuels and biomaterials, green buildings, personal transportation, smart grid, mobile technologies, water filtration, creating your own Silicon Valley, and clean-tech marketing. And the book is geared towards individuals, investors, corporations, and governments alike.
The authors are Clean Edge guys and they know what they’re talking about. The research put into each topic is unbelievably thorough. The Clean Tech Revolution is not some chump book by someone that just recently jumped on the green bandwagon (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The authors talk about the tipping point of green brought about by six C’s–cost, capital, competition, China, consumers, and climate. These six things have come together to make clean tech something of a revolution that will occur over the next 20, 30, 40 years plus. It’s pretty exciting. In each of the chapter categories mentioned above, the authors identify several companies to watch. For instance, the authors say we should keep an eye on the following companies in the ‘green building’ chapter: Aspen Aerogels, Clarum Homes, Cree, The Durst Organization, Interface Engineering, Ortech, PanaHome, Rinnai, Turner Construction, Wal-Mart Stores.
Update:: BusinessWeek published an extensive review over the weekend saying, in part: "But what sets Pernick and Wilder’s book apart is its focus on the business benefits of going green, from money saved by building eco-friendly corporate headquarters and lowering heating and cooling bills, to money earned by startups committed to creating clean technologies. Other books, magazines, and Web sites tend to include clean-tech and green business within a spectrum of other lifestyle, political, environmental, or design topics."
I’m not going to give away too much, but I’m really impressed with this book. Actually, I’ve got two people in mind that I want to pass a copy to, and they’re not getting mine.