No matter which industry it is, in the face of the double crisis of the climate crisis and the epidemic in the new crown era, it will be engulfed by the storm. The industry report released by McKinsey & Company in 2020 shows that under the impact of the new crown virus, the transformation and restructuring of the construction industry has accelerated. Innovation starts from the core of the construction industry – the architectural design link.
Recently, the list of the top ten innovative design firms in the world in 2021 selected by “Fast Company” magazine was released. On the list, there are architectural practices that attempt to balance the concept of ultra-high-speed urbanization and the harmonious coexistence between man and nature, practices that embrace humanistic care to achieve completely barrier-free spaces, and hospital designs that embed intelligent technology to cope with the peak treatment of COVID-19 patients Wait. All the works on the list respond to a series of issues of the times, such as social development, human settlement, greenness, intelligence, and practical needs.
Adapting to the times is the function of architectural design. Since primitive society, architectural forms have changed with the changes of human life forms. As Walter Gropius, one of the proponents of the modernist school of architecture and founder of the Bauhaus, said, architecture must move forward or it will die. Architecture has no end, only constant change.
Reflecting the Berlin Skyline
The changes in people’s lifestyles caused by the new crown epidemic are visible. The emergence of home isolation and home office has changed the way of life in the past. Architect Stefan AI, who has participated in the design of China’s Canton Tower, believes that perhaps in the future, public office space will be compressed, and the office will become very different from the present. This urges architectural design to respond.
In February 2020, a building called Europe’s smartest, most efficient and most connected building by German media was completed. The cube-shaped building on Washington Square in central Berlin, called the Berlin Cube, was designed by Danish firm 3XN Architects.
From a distance, the Berlin cubic glass curtain wall is like a broken mirror, stretching straight lines from the center of the wall to all sides, and different glass panels reflect images of the Berlin skyline from all angles. When passersby approach the building, the street image is reflected on the glass wall, attracting people to stop and watch.
Entering the Berlin Cube, you will find that there is a universe in the building. As long as electronic devices such as mobile phones are connected to the Internet of Things inside the building, environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, air volume, and illumination inside the building can be regulated. In addition, in order to adapt to the changes in the working mode of online meetings and working from home, Cube Berlin provides users with the service of booking work spaces and parking spaces online. Office space and parking spaces have become shared resources, which not only conforms to the change of people’s working style, but also avoids the waste of resources.
The realization of this function benefits from the operation of the central processing unit of Cube Berlin. By collecting a large amount of user behavior habits and energy consumption data, the processing system completes artificial intelligence deep learning, so as to make changes to the energy supply of the building at different times. Through the application of digital means, people have realized the qualitative change from building users to building operators.
The introduction of digital means to promote their own energy saving and emission reduction, such buildings are called ecologically intelligent buildings. By applying indoor thermal environment and ergonomic theories, ecological intelligent buildings can automatically adjust according to changes in the external climate environment, maximize the use of natural resources, reduce the use of non-renewable resources, and create a comfortable and healthy indoor environment for users.
The field of ecologically intelligent buildings appeared long before the epidemic. The first to go in this field is undoubtedly Europe. In 2000, Düsseldorf, Germany built an ecologically intelligent building – the headquarters building of Victoria Insurance Company: the building is realized through mature technical systems such as double-layer intelligent glass curtain wall, replacement fresh air system and concrete slab heating and cooling system. Self-control of reheating, lighting, noise and ventilation inside the building.
Headquarters building of Victoria Insurance Company in Germany
Haikou Yundong Library
The introduction of digital means to promote their own energy saving and emission reduction, such buildings are called ecologically intelligent buildings.
As a result, the headquarters building of Victoria Insurance Company was awarded the first prize of German Ecological Environment Protection by German authorities in 2000.
In the post-epidemic era, intelligent buildings will assume the function of defense against danger. When an emergency occurs, intelligent buildings can be differentiated into “island-style” space systems to resist the expansion of risks that may be brought about by globalization.
In August 2020, the conceptual skyscraper skylines project from Italian studio Piero Lissoni won the honorable mention award in the skyhive 2020 Skyscraper Challenge. This is a self-contained, self-sufficient ecosystem designed for epidemic isolation.
The vertical distribution of the functional areas of the building provides space for residents to carry out various activities, and realizes functions such as schools, offices, residences, and hospitals. High-rise buildings provide a carrier for collecting rainwater, solar energy and wind energy. Intelligent equipment for energy recovery converts solar energy and wind energy into electric energy. Rainwater provides irrigation for green plants inside the building. The recycling of various energy sources achieves the goal of building energy saving and low carbon.
greenest high-rise building
A stone path in the grass leads to a white building inlaid with caves of various shapes and sizes. This building standing on the coast of the South China Sea is the Haikou Yundong Library, which will open in March 2021. The flowing shape of the library echoes the surging waves on the sea; the poetic and pictorial scene composed of the coast, the sunset and the library has become a “check-in point” that is sought after by traffic.
This building, designed by China’s MAD Architects, has been listed as the most anticipated architectural work in 2021 by The Times before it is completed. The architect of the building, Ma Yansong, said that it is the ability that architecture should have to live comfortably with nature and re-establish a relationship.
In order to provide a space where people and nature can get along, when designing the Yundong Library, Ma Yansong used the holes on the walls to achieve natural lighting and ventilation. The overhanging design of the eaves effectively utilizes physical shading to reduce heat radiation and achieve sustainable development.
Energy saving, greenness and sustainability are the characteristics of ecological buildings and the response of the current construction industry to ecological and environmental issues. With the spread and aggravation of global environmental problems, the concept of green building is not only popular in the field of global architectural design, but also popular in the real estate market.
Norman Foster, winner of the 21st Pritzker Architecture Prize (known as the “Oscar” in the architectural design field) and representative of the “high-tech school”, once said: “Green is the core of design and an important clue. .” In the architectural practice of Foster and the architectural firm he founded, traces of “green” can often be detected.
In July 2021, Foster + Partners unveiled a model of the Marina Tower in Athens, the capital of Greece. Studio Foster defined the building as “one of the greenest high-rise buildings in the world and a model of sustainable design”. The use of environmentally friendly building materials reduces environmental pollution from the source, and also creates conditions for the recycling and reuse of building materials in the future.
The characteristic building “façade”, with large balconies with vegetation and rainwater harvesting systems, complements the surrounding Mediterranean landscape and ensures unobstructed natural lighting and ventilation.
In addition to the geographical advantage facing the Mediterranean Sea, Greece’s “first green high-rise building” has become another selling point of Marina Towers apartments. Prices for apartments in the building are said to range from 7,500 to 26,200 euros per square metre. Within three months of the model’s release, the 200-meter-tall, 45-storey tower apartment was snapped up by both Greek and foreign investors.
The pace of decarbonization accelerates
The development of the construction industry has accelerated the pace of global warming to a certain extent. Globally, more than 40% of energy consumption and 21% of greenhouse gas emissions come from the construction industry, according to China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.
The recently concluded COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference led to the first international agreement in history to gradually reduce the use of coal, with the participation of 197 countries around the world. As a result, “carbon neutrality” and “zero emissions” have become a global consensus through official forms. Against this background, the road to decarbonization of the construction industry is a long way to go.
The concept of green development has gradually become a new requirement of the global construction industry. At the COP26 summit, a variety of designs to help decarbonize buildings jointly presented a situation where a hundred flowers are blooming. The UK Green Building Council has joined nearly 100 construction practitioners around the world to launch an architectural exhibition called “Build Better Now”.
Green buildings and green real estate should become the “main force” of sustainable development and carbon neutrality.
Model of the Marina Building in Athens
The exhibition focuses on various themes of sustainable materials, renewable energy, local materials and protecting nature, and introduces 17 representative sustainable projects around the world, including Sweden’s Sara Cultural Center, Norway’s energy-efficient office building Powerhouse Brattörkaia Wait.
China has undoubtedly become the global leader in green buildings. As of December 2021, there are 416 officially recognized green buildings in China. China is the second largest market for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a widely used green building certification system worldwide.
In recent years, China’s green buildings have achieved leapfrog development. The proportion of Chinese construction companies implementing green projects has increased from 5% in 2016 to 28% in 2018; the proportion of urban green buildings in new buildings has increased from 2012 2% rose sharply to 65% in 2019. It can be seen that China’s construction industry has basically reached a consensus: green buildings and green real estate should become the “main force” of sustainable development and carbon neutrality.