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It is now beyond doubt that sustainability and energy-efficiency are being given their due importance in India, and this importance is manifesting itself in green architecture all over the country. Joining this bandwagon is a new Recreation Centre and Solarium in Delhi, to be inaugurated later this year. With all the eco-friendly aspects that are to be incorporated into its design, this Recreation centre is likely to stand out among other similar buildings.
The structure is sprawled over five acres of land, incorporating a green design that also provides a habitat of luxury in the indoors as well as the outdoors. The building is also unique for the fact that the environment created is conducive to outdoor activity throughout the year. This design has been provided by Mumbai-based architecture firm Prem Nath & Associates.
The Solarium, spread over 1 million square feet will be a multi-use destination complete with a farm, pool, gymnasium, aquatic centre and a library, all under a canopy made of enormous solar panels, a grey-water system, and passive cooling/heating design.
Glass with Aluminum
The entire structure is formed from glass and aluminum sections. Double-glazed low-e glass is held in place with high-strength horizontal fiber glass tendons and aluminum structural members. The clean construction gives way to an equally streamlined interior that is rendered clutter-free. The temperature inside the structure is regulated to meet the requirements of occupant comfort as well as to optimize conditions for the growth of plants.
The aluminum frame was designed to make the structure homogenous, lightweight and structurally stable. Photovoltaic solar panels on the roof work with the low-e glass to control temperature and reduce energy consumption, and rotating louvers on the roof help flood the indoors with ample fresh air. Meanwhile, motion sensors and LUX intensity meter sensors control lighting for efficient energy consumption.
The high gloss aluminum finish, the envelope of green landscape, the manicured lawns and the local tree plantations keep privacy intact. Trees have been illuminated with floor and trunk mounted lighters, concealed cleverly for glare-free lighting, and there are various theme indoor gardens with fruit tree plantations, sculptures, and pathways curbed with flowering plants. Some rare and exotic species of plants have been planted inside the structure as well as in the garden. Irrigation requirements within the complex will be partially fulfilled with recycled water.
Netmagic Solutions Pvt. Ltd., a managed IT hosting service provider contributed to the dream of a Greener India by earning a LEED Gold for Commercial Interiors (CI) for its Chennai data centre from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). This is India’s first data centre to have received this coveted rating.
Netmagic’s Chennai data centre has embraced several green features to make the premise truly energy-efficient. The additional cost of incorporating these much-needed features was less than 10%.
This consists of a long list that includes site ecology, water conservation, smart energy meters and equipment, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, recycled content, effective waste management, eco-friendly interiors and so on.
- Site ecology has been maintained by reusing the evacuated top soil for landscaping.
- There is a rain water harvesting system that collects rain water for landscape irrigation and toilet flushing; and a 50% reduction in potable water consumption has been achieved by using water efficient fittings and water meters.
- Dependence on fossil fuels has been reduced by providing carpool facilities, bicycles and alternate fuel options through provision of electric vehicle charging points.
- The lighting system has a lighting power density of 0.69 W/Sqft as against 1 W/Sqft for office space.
- The roof has been treated with high reflective paint to minimize heat ingress and has brought about a 3-4 Degree Centigrade reduction in temperature in the indoor spaces.
- The furniture, seating, carpet, glass, composite wood, aluminium, false ceiling, etc is made of recyclable material.
- All paints, adhesives, furniture, carpets and housekeeping chemicals are eco-friendly and free of harmful components.
- Waste bins for different categories of waste have been provided.
- It is a ‘No Smoking’ premise with several operable windows to facilitate cross ventilation.
- Occupants have been provided with task lighting and lighting control to ensure better comfort and high productivity.
- Energy meters have been installed to measure and monitor energy consumption of the building. An overall 20% higher energy efficiency has been achieved through these innovative energy efficiency measures integrated right at the design stage.
Sustainable buildings in Europe will have a new height to scale with the creation of the Gazprom Tower, officially known as the Okhta Tower. The plan has recently been given the green signal to begin construction; it will be designed by UK-based architectural firm RMJM. Upon completion, this building will be the tallest in Europe and one among the world’s most energy-efficient.
St. Petersburg in Russia will be the home to Okhta Tower, which through its 77 storeys will cross 400 metres in height. This tower will primarily serve as headquarters to Gazprom’s oil unit, OAO Gazprom Neft, and will also be home to a concert hall, a museum, a hotel and a business centre. In the name of sustainability, this tower will incorporate multiple elements for energy-efficiency during construction.
The building will be insulated by an exoskeleton, dubbed as a low-energy ‘fur coat’, and will consist of two layers of glazed glass ‘skin’ with an atrium between the inner and outer walls. This buffer zone will supply the building with natural ventilation, sunlight for interior lighting and at the same time will act as a thermal insulation by keeping the structure warm during fierce minus 30 degrees Russian winters. Trees and plants will be sandwiched between the double glass walls, which will be responsible for providing warmth in winter and lower temperatures in summer.
The outer wall will comprise of temperature-colour-changing glass panels. This tower will change colour up to 10 times a day depending on the position of the sun, and creating a dazzling scene of a 300m-tall twisting glass tower across 75 floors.
Inspired by the pentagonal plan of an ancient Scandinavian fort believed to have once occupied the site, the tower consists of a central concrete core ringed by five square interlocking floorplates. The floorplates spin on their axes as they ascend, giving the building its twisted effect. A ‘cog mechanism’ – whereby the five floorplates interlock – ensures the tower’s stability.
The pentagram design of the tower maximises access to daylight and allows for spectacular views for the offices without losing heat due to exposed surface area in comparison to other structures.
Specialized water, heating and ventilation systems have also been incorporated to reduce the energy consumption levels of the building. There will be a public viewing gallery on the 70th floor.
The office floor plans will also feature a large number of social spaces and green zones that will let the workers to access leisure areas without wasting energy by using elevators for vertical transportation.
The cost of construction is estimated at to $2.4bn. This cost will be borne jointly by Gazprom’s subsidiary Gazprom Neft ($1.4 billion) and the St Petersburg City Administration ($1 billion).
That every modern building on the face of this earth seeks to be a sustainable entity is an oft-repeated and well-established fact. Interestingly, this trend is now finding its way even through buildings built on water. And as if in testimony, a gigantic arch-shaped hotel named “The Ark” has been built on sea water by the Russian architectural firm Remistudio, in collaboration with the International Union of Architects’ programme titled “Architecture for Disaster Relief.”
The core concept behind the architecture of this unique building is safety and protection from extreme environmental conditions and climate change.
Sprawled over a total site area of 4500 m2, this building can withstand extreme floods caused by rising sea levels, and floats autonomously on the surface of the water owing to its arch-shaped structure. The Ark is also designed to be a bioclimatic house with independent life-support systems, including elements that ensure a closed-functioning cycle.
Make-up of The Ark
Timber arches and steel ropes used in construction provide structural solidity to the building. The framework is covered by a special foil made of Ethyl TetraFluoroEthylene (ETFE) – a strong, highly transparent foil, self-cleaning, recyclable, highly durable, economical, and lighter than glass. The foil itself is fixed to the framework by special metal profiles, which also serve as solar collectors for water heating and as gutters that collect rainwater from the roof surface. A prefabricated frame allows for fast construction.
The cupola in the upper portion collects warm air which is gathered in seasonal heat accumulators to provide uninterrupted energy supply for the whole complex. The heat from the surrounding environment – the outer air, water or ground – is also used. The building can produce extra power for supplying to adjacent houses and for “green” means of transport.
The building makes a single energy system. The form of the cupola assists in creating an air-eddy at the outer surface around the central bearing, where the wind power and tornado generators are placed. The form of the building allows for placement of photoelectric cells at an appropriate angle to the Sun.
The base of the building is shell-like in structure, devoid of ledges or angles, rendering it very suitable for climatically and seismically sensitive regions. A load-bearing system of arches and cables allows weight redistribution along the entire corpus in case of an earthquake.
- Lush vegetation helps provide good quality of air and a source of food.
- All plants are chosen as per the principles of compatibility, illumination and efficiency of oxygen production
- A transparent roof allows for penetration of sufficient light for the plants in ther interiors.
- The design uses solar panels and a rainwater collection system to provide occupants with power and water.
Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands is a popular standout point for business and entertainment in Asia, that adds to its credibility by providing space for 2,560 hotel rooms, rooftop Sands SkyPark, convention and exhibition facilities, the best shopping mall in Asia, world-class celebrity chef restaurants, a casino, a Paiza Club for premium players, an outdoor event plaza and so on. What’s more, the new Eco-friendly development in this area – the ArtScience Museum – has tripled its attractiveness.
This ArtScience Museum, the first of its kind the world over, was inaugurated at Marina Bay Sands on February 17th, 2011. The shape of this ArtScience Museum is that of a bloomed lotus flower or a single palm with 10 fingers. This contemporarily designed Museum aims to become the heart of the growing art & science movement as well as the premier venue for international exhibits.
The Museum will display innovative and modern works in art and science on three floors of gallery space across over 4,800 square meters. There are 21 galleries in all. This project will attract not just tourists but also encourage cutting-edge practices as part of a new economy.
Museum – The Palm & its Energy-efficiency
Because of its palm-like appearance, the Museum is fondly known as “The Welcoming Hand of Singapore”. There are ten fingers on this palm, attached to a unique round base in the middle. The tallest “finger” stands 60 meters above ground. Each one of the ten fingers that extend out in the palm-like museum has a generous skylight that illuminates the interior walls with ample daylight.
Air conditioning grills built into the floor help save energy by cooling only the air up to the visitor’s height, rather than the entire space. Called air stratification, the technique is gaining popularity with engineering firms.
The ArtScience Museum incorporates several interesting features to make use of natural resources as efficiently as possible. The museum’s dish-like roof channels rainwater through the central atrium of the building, creating a 35-meter water drop into a 4,000 sq.m lily pond at the lowest level of the building. Rainwater is recycled and redirected through the water feature to create a continuous cylindrical waterfall. The rainwater is also recycled for use in the museum’s bathrooms as part of Singapore’s Green Mark program.
At night, the same dish transforms into an amphitheatre, enthralling audiences with awe-striking light and laser shows and fireworks with the city in the background.
Material such as Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP), typically used in high-performance racing yachts – which has never been used in a project in Singapore – has been used for the construction of this architectural wonder.
The Mudra Group, one of India’s leading advertising and media agencies, recently unveiled its new office complex, another architectural marvel in glass.
This new Mudra House is located opposite the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. And as a manner of exemplifying its philosophy of creative collaboration across units, this new office building has been constructed to provide workspaces to over 450 Mudra employees under a single roof. And with a LEED Gold certification form the IGBC, the building has a lot more to be proud of than just dimension.
The 8-storeyed office complex of the Mudra Group sports a combination of glass and red brick tiles on the exterior, giving it unmatched aesthetic appeal. There are two levels of valet parking in the basement, with a capacity of 120 cars. The parking area has been fitted with numerous electrical points as a provision for recharging battery-operated cars.
The Mudra Complex embraces modern architectural design through the generous use of glass on its exteriors, and remains in sync with tradition through artwork displays in the interiors.
The lobby of the building illustrates a description of life in contemporary times, using traditional ‘Warli’ art. This style of art can be seen on each floor of the Complex, in different forms. The Warli art on each floor gives a feel of the ambience within that particular space. Or instance, the workspace is depicted by simple triangle-and-dots figures that vividly capture day-to-day workstation activities. Warli art is also seen on the upholstery, on signage and floor coverings of every floor. The art infuses the ‘Spirit of Community’ throughout the building.
The eighth floor at Mudra House is worth a special mention. This floor that houses Executive Board Members represents exceptional sophistication in its interior design and provides each cabin with a bird’s eye view of Mumbai city. The conference room located on the same floor can accommodate 25 people and has an automatic foldable door that opens up into the adjacent room to create more space when required.
Mudra House is equipped with 1 gigabit IP Telephony, a full blown Unified Communications (UC) system, Video Conferencing (VC) and Audio Visual (AV) facilities, an access control system, a CCTV network and Intelligent Building Management System (IBMS), where the control system is a computerized, intelligent network of electronics, designed to monitor and control the mechanical and lighting systems of the building. In addition, the architecture has incorporated several energy efficient features into the complex.
In addition to the work areas, Mudra House has a recreation area with facilities for table tennis, billiards, and a gymnasium in addition to a cafeteria and a library.
The MIPIM Asia Awards are given to real estate projects in the Asia-Pacific region that stand out for innovation in design and excellence in energy performance, among other criteria. There are eight categories of awards that are given away, and the 2010 awards were given away at Hong Kong, on November 10th.
Honours for Parkview Green
Parkview Green was one of three awardees under the Green Building Category. This is the first time a Chinese project has won this Green Building honour. This exemplifies China’s active participation in building a green future. Parkview Green also has the pre-certified LEED® Platinum for core and shell from the USGBC. On completion, it is all set China’s first LEED® Platinum certified urban mixed-use development.
Parkview Green FangCaoDi is a building that houses world-class shopping centres, Grade-A office complexes and a boutique hotel. Located in Beijing, China, it was designed by Integrated Design Associates (IDA) and given life by developers Beijing Chyau Fwu Properties Ltd.
Parkview Green assumes a unique pyramidal structure with both aesthetic and functional appeal. The building comprises four towers – two 9-storey & two 18-storey towers. Four of these towers are meant primarily for Grade-A office space. There is 82000sq m of office space in total for multiple tenants, connected by air bridges. There is also a commercial business space, a 100 room boutique hotel and 50,000m2 of luxury retail.
All four towers are enclosed by a transparent environmental shield. This shield is made of steel, glass walls and an ETFE membrane system roof, and is controlled by an automated Building Management System. The double-glass skin creates an air chamber that stores the thermal energy and reduces energy footprint. It also forms a natural ventilation system that circulates fresh air between the ceilings and floors, allowing the building to “breathe” easily and naturally.
The climate inside the shield is relatively uniform. The shield increases thermal insulation, thus reducing energy consumption. It limits the need for air conditioning in summer and reduces heat loss during winter.
Ventilation louvers are installed at the top of the envelope. These act as chimneys, allowing the warmest air to escape and creating an upward flow of air. As the air escapes, cooler air is drawn up from the bottom of the building, allowing for air movement and natural ventilation.
With its sustainable architectural design, Parkview Green FangCaoDi saves up to 44% in energy consumption and 48% in water consumption. Parkview Green can also recycle 81% of its construction waste material. Moreover, 25% of its total building construction material is made up of recycled content.
More on Parkview
Parkview sports a 236-metre pedestrian bridge that spans the complex, offering a bird’s-eye view of shops and the public plaza. A series of lifts and 18 six-meter-long escalators have been installed. The premium shopping centre offers luxury merchandise on four levels. Boutique Cinema, a mini-spa and a gym on a terraced garden sky lounge on the 18th floor are some other perks the building offers. Fashion shows, car launches, art exhibitions and other attention-grabbing events will be hosted here.
Mumbai as a city needs no introduction to most Indians. Populous, cosmopolitan, fast-moving and diverse are some of the common adjectives used to describe this city. The sheer population of the city – well over 14 million people – often maims the local transportation facilities, and renders it insufficient. This increases the use of personal vehicles, hence adding to problems of parking, pollution and traffic jams.
In the light of these well-known problems of the city that is Mumbai, Tata Motors – owned by arguably the most respected business house in the country – has introduced the Nano EV, an electric vehicle, as a plausible solution.
There’s more. The Tata Corporation have planned to build a new building – Tata Towers in the city, with a unique vertical car parking facility. These residential towers, designed by Seth Ellsworth & Jayoung Kim are to have 930 residences for Tata employees and a parking space for 4,050 cars. The towers will also boast of several energy-efficient features.
The vertical parking system exploits the height of each building, and will permit cars to move up and down in vertical cores on small platforms. Residents can park their cars in their own gardens. Vertical parking enables maximum use of available space and also frees up space for a more pedestrian-oriented ground plane, allowing for parks and recreation areas.
The towers could eventually become a parking resource for other buildings as well, linked horizontally through skybridges.
The towers will have alternate energy sources such as solar power-collecting louvers, building-integrated wind turbines, tri-generation, and an algae farm which produces biodiesel. These energy sources will provide enough power to fuel the residences and also recharge the electric vehicles.
A truly outstanding initiative for the benefit of the common man and his environment, yet again from the Tatas.
WOW Architects Pte Ltd has created yet another architectural marvel, and this time it is nothing less than the Vivanta Hotel from the Taj Group, a Glass Palace in every sense. The extensive and innovative use of glass in this building makes it stand out as unique and exceedingly attractive.
The Green Roof is unarguably the most outstanding feature of this building. Apart from this, there is a whole gamut of eco-friendly products and processes incorporated into the structure. Vivanta is the recipient of several awards at the Architectural Design Awards 2010. Besides, the design of the Vivanta as the best in the ‘Commercial’ category and the ‘2010 Building of The Year’ award was a winner from among 180 global entries. Vivanta is located at Whitefield in Bangalore, India. It is an extension of the surrounding Bangalore’s International Technology Park (ITPL) and provides a networking platform for the young IT professionals working at the Tech Park.
Green-roofed Mobius strip
This premium hotel has 200 rooms in three storeys. It sports a rather opulent roofed promenade in the shape of a Mobius strip, a three-dimensional twisted loop that has a two-dimensional flowing surface. This strip envelops the public amenities of the hotel. The podium of the hotel is designed in the shape of a mobius strip so as to maximise site coverage. The twists and folds of the strip enhance the perception of space and blur the distinction between building, ground, architecture and and landscape.
Colourful Glass Facade
The glazed exterior facade of the building offers views to scenic beauty and provides lighting for the rooms. A range of high performance reflective glass with varying tints enables maximum energy efficiency through a reduction in the need for both artificial lighting as well as air conditioning. In the banquet halls, faceted walls fold up to the ceiling, enveloping guests in rhythmic portals. An abstracted Indian motif grafted onto a sound absorption surface aids unobtrusive acoustic comfort.
- All the building material was sourced locally, thus addressing the need for reduction in carbon footprint.
- Rainwater is harvested and channelled for reuse in landscape irrigation.