On our planet, land mass is threatened by climate change and populations that are increasing and living longer. By 2100, the world’s population could increase to 11.2 billion, and it is estimated that almost all population growth will occur within our cities. In 1930, only 30% of the world’s population lived in cities – compared to around 50% today; by 2050 66.7% of the world’s population will live in cities.
Architects are now having to think carefully about how buildings will be designed in the future. Through increased demands for space within urban environments, modern and innovative building designs are being implemented more than ever before. As we move forward and replace older designs, new builds will help to accommodate our increasingly complex living-needs. Together with Oasys, specialists in building design and pedestrian simulation software, we explore these cutting-edge structures and how they have become a reality.
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Buildings made of timber
By using alternatives to metals, renewable timbers can be used to construct buildings as it becomes more structurally sound within construction. This is because many are now praising its sustainability and quality, whilst realising how fast a structure can be built.
As CLT (cross laminated timber) regulations are sparse, attitudes towards constructing buildings with timber are becoming progressive. With its improved strength and stability due to more sophisticated engineering techniques – wooden skyscrapers are becoming a thing of the present – not the future.
Impressive structures are now being created with CLT, and one example is Wenlock Cross in Hackney. More commonly known as The Cube Building, standing at 6,750sq metres, the scheme is a hybrid mix of timber and steel. The building seamlessly blends into grass parks that surround the area, but also looks right at home amongst other urbanised buildings that makeup London’s metropolitan landscape. As developments progress in the construction and implementation of timber structures, only time will tell how wooden buildings will influence the future of architecture.
Host to one of the world’s first rotating skyscrapers, downtown Dubai is set to host this superstructure, designed by Israeli-Italian architect David Fisher.The structure was originally proposed in 2008, but after being put on hold, the structure has now been set for completion by 2020.
As it rotates, the structure will always change shape, and technically, the apartment block is designed so that it will never look the same twice. Though each apartment will be able to rotate 360 degrees independently, the speed will be adjustable, and the stationary core will contain the elevator with apartments off-shooting this core.
As an innovative one of a kind, this structure also helps to benefit the environment. The structure is proposed to power itself, as there will be wind turbines between each floor, negating the need for excessive power supplies from fossil fuels. An apartment will not come cheap, with prices set to be at around US $30 million. This is an exclusive project for those who want to pay the price to be at the forefront of innovation.
Buildings designed and constructed in the East are now using gardens and green spaces that help to connect urban environments to natural environments. The East intends to build structures that encourage biodiversity, helping tropical spaces thrive within natural environments.
Nanjing Green Light House
In Nanjing, Jiangsu, China -unlike a conventional light house, it is named in this way because through its round structure and sophisticated façade designs, the building is able to gain 200 LUX natural daylight for all working spaces – making it one of the first zero carbon buildings in mainland china.
The natural landscape becomes as important as the building itself in this instance, as China’s vast, natural foliage helped to produce this design.Through natural ventilation techniques, exposed windows and moveable skylights, anyone can enjoy this working space that incorporates natural designs.
Oasia Hotel Downtown
Standing against the urban backdrop of downtown Singapore, this hotel functions as a vertical garden amongst limited green spaces. This tropical skyscraper counteracts the Central Business District within the Tanjong Pagar area, and is meant to act as a prototype for how urbans tropics will function within man-made landscapes.
Based around a series of sky gardens – these function as ‘ground levels’, which help to provide public areas for social interaction, and recreation, within an urban environment that has limited green spaces. Each sky verandah is open sided, which provides natural breezes to pass through the building for good cross-ventilation without the need for air-conditioning units. The building is also considered a natural haven for wildlife, with an overall green plot ratio of 1,100% – reintroducing biodiversity into the city that was initially driven away through construction.
Images from: Leeza SOHO Tower by Zaha Hadid Architects