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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.
It is almost passé for architecture of all forms and for every purpose to take the Green route today. Be it educational institutions, corporate buildings, government offices or commercial buildings, public areas like airports, railways stations and sports stadiums, residential constructions or even hospitals – Sustainability and Green are buzzwords that none can ignore. But the winner is the “Golden Temple” of Sripuram in Tamil Nadu. As a place of worship, it stands out as the latest form of architecture, most unusually, that has embraced the Green concept.
This Golden Temple of Sripuram is a spiritual park situated at the foothills of Malaikodi, a village within the city of Vellore in Tamil Nadu, India. Sripuram received “Exnora Green Temple Award” and “Exnora Best Eco-friendly Campus of India Award” from Deputy Chief Minister of Tmail Nadu, Shri M.K. Stalin on 27th October earlier this year.
Exnora International is a non-government environmental service organization. The body has rated the temple as one of the best enviro-models of the world.
The temple is a paradise of sorts, where tranquillity, greenery and peace reign supreme. An attractive-looking terracotta-tiled ceiling over the 1.5 km long star-shaped foot path leading to the temple provides for the entry of ample natural light and wind.
The eco-friendly features include Solid Waste Management (SWM), Liquid Waste Management (LWM), rainwater harvesting, bio-gas generation, organic farming, herbal gardens, paddy fields and tree plantations, hill and campus afforestation and harnessing of solar energy. Manure and water for cultivation are generated internally.
Plastics and glasses are shredded, papers compressed into bales and sent for recycling by the Solid Waste Management system. Sripuram Temple attracts a daily footfall of over 5,000 which translate into two tonnes of waste, both bio-degradable and recyclable. The waste is either turned back into material or into manure which is used for the site’s soil. The waste water is recycled and used to irrigate the grass and plantations. Vegetables for meals are grown internally.
About 3 tonnes of cow dung aids in the generation of 50 kgs of fuel which in turn is used for cooking. Also, the bio-gas generated from a mixture of cow dung and waste food is used at temple’s accommodations, hospital and community kitchens.
Solar Water Heaters
Solar heaters generate hot water which is also used in the kitchens, thereby reducing the need for procurement of fuel from external sources by 80 percent. Canals and ponds dug up within the site help recharge ground water. The temple generates water for its own needs and also supplies some for public use when rainfall is insufficient.
Zero Waste Management (ZWM)
The temple also practices Zero Waste Management. This system includes a biogas plant. Between April 2002 and November 2003, the system has generated 33.8 tonnes of compost (worth Rs. 52,280) and earned Rs. 22,400 through sale of recyclables. The compost generated is used in various areas within the temple site like the gardens, agricultural fields, nurseries and for hill restoration. The success of the project has encouraged the management to extend the ZWM to the Malaikodi village.
Waste Processing Facility (WPF)
The temple authorities have set up a Waste Processing Facility (WPF). Four to five mega tonnes of garbage generated daily is processed by 70 workers. The bio – degradable waste is converted into organic manure through aerobic composting and vermicomposting. The recyclables are segregated into 48 categories, packed and sold to recyclers. The average income from sale of compost and recyclables is Rs.1 lakh per month. An average of 2 tonnes of garbage is collected everyday from surrounding areas.
During the treatment process, natural manure is created and used at the Sakthi Amma Greenery Afforestation Revolution (SAGAR) and the Sakthi Amma Afforestation Program (SAAP). Cleaning powders are made from fruit and vegetable peels.