Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yeang, Nakamura, Lim

The reputation of Veg.itect extraordinaire Ken Yeang is undisputed, but it's always nice for a refresher on how far he has been pushing in designing (and getting built) these bioclimatic treasures. Inhabitat has recent coverage of an old favorite - the EDITT tower in Singapore, which is slated for construction. Can't wait to see this one.

:: image via Inhabitat

Via Inhabitat "The verdant skyscraper was designed to increase its location’s bio-diversity and rehabilitate the local ecosystem in Singapore’s ‘zeroculture’ metropolis... Approximately half of the surface area of the EDITT Tower will be wrapped in organic local vegetation, and passive architecture will allow for natural ventilation. Publicly accessible ramps will connect upper floors to the street level lined in shops, restaurants and plant life. The building has also been designed for future adaptability, with many walls and floors that can be moved or removed. In a city known for its downpours, the building will collect rainwater and integrate a grey-water system for both plant irrigation and toilet flushing with an estimated 55% self-sufficiency."

:: images via Inhabitat

A very different scale is found via What We Do Is Secret is an verdant apartment complex in downtown Tokyo - with trees and vegetation woven into the fabric of the building by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP... this is sweet - and I particularly this model.

:: images via What We Do Is Secret

The forms are interesting, specifically with the dusky late-night shots... but the last shot is perhaps my favorite - a simple switcheroo of tree trunk inside - giving a hint of the simplicity amidst the complexity.

:: images via What We Do Is Secret
Finally a recent announcement of a project from CJ Lim (via BDonline): "Lim’s firm Studio 8 Architects won the contest to design the Nan Yui shopping park scheme — his 12th contest in 18 months. The project takes the form of a feng shui-inspired “golden bowl”, and includes offices, retail, apartments, a public park and a five-star hotel."
:: images via BDonline
Check of the comment stream for such treasures as 'it already looks dated before it's even built' and '...'tacky cheesiness'... which indicates some of the thoughts on the reality and practicality of this proposal. Is it dated? I don't think so, as it's not really referencing something. Tacky, perhaps? But it's a vision - and even those specifically unpractical ideas have merit in pushing boundaries.
This is where Ken Yeang shines... not just treating these projects as 'pop art' or academic exercises - but as visionary and practical architecture that definitely pushes boundaries, but is also buildable. Nakamura's project offers a different vision and sensitivity - similar to carving space for 'tree residents' like Hundertwasser... but also realistic. Is there a place for the vision of Lim? Of course - because they are expanding the potential of architecture and landscape in urban areas. Practical...maybe. Buildable... probably not - but evocative and worth talking about. Most definitely.
The images of Ken Yeang a few years back were considered outrageous - now they seem to be leading a new wave. Perhaps the sum of these three projects offers a glimpse into the current and future of Veg.itecture.

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