Sunday, March 2, 2008

Veg.itecture: Flat + Graceful

Picking up the previous thread (and continuing to clean out some languishing archives of projects), a few additional projects that offer some formalistic solutions, via building form, size, and representation.

A project shown in Jetson Green offers a view of the potential sustainability, building greening, and most importantly - spectacularly poetic form. As covered previously in L+U, Masdar is a model eco-city with an aim of being zero-carbon and zero-waste. This project is developed by Chicago architecture firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, and will be the world's first positive energy, mixed-use building. Taking the idea past net-zero - the building aims to create more energy that it consumes. Anoter interesting note, the building will generate the energy required for it's construction via a solar tower to be built prior. Graceful in form, elegant in implementation. That might just be bordering on true sustainability.

:: images via Jetson Green

Similar size-wise, and will lofty sustainability goals, a significant regional project I've been following for a while is the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Center. This expansion aims to be one of the largest green roof projects in the world when completed. Inhabitat recently profiled this project, showing the expansive rooftop greening, as well as some exterior spaces which are actually pretty disappointing in these renderings.

:: images via Inhabitat

From Inhabitat, a melding of green features: "The entire 6-acre addition will be covered in a ‘living roof’ that will support 400,000 plants of indigenous varieties. A rain catchment system will irrigate the vegetation during much of the year, while grey and black water recycling systems will generate much of the centers’ own water supply. Underwater, the concrete foundation has been stepped to encourage fish habitat to return to the area, and an updated seawater heating and cooling system, similar to the original building’s mechanical systems, will pump seawater over a heat exchanger to control indoor temperatures."

Six acres of green roof is about what exists currently in total in Portland, where small blocks and small developments tend to give us more smaller projects. There are however, some significant buildings that would benefit from this expansive greening (Lloyd Center, peripheral big-box stores, and the Expo Center). It's disappointing that our own Convention Center's recent expansion eschewed green roof due to costs... while the Rain Garden is a fantastic asset - the lack of rooftop greening in a project that easily could have been a significant Portland model - is a huge missed opportunity.

:: image via Prism Magazine

1 comment:

  1. The Masdar building is so spectacular...probably the most impressive green building I've seen yet. I'm sure it's not for everyone, but I'm damn proud to see that it was designed by a Chicago firm. :-)


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