A tall building is not defined by its height or number of stories. The important criterion is whether or not the design is influenced by some aspect of “tallness.”It is a building in which tallness strongly influences planning, design, construction and use: the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.
Yanko Design has pertinent pictures of the world’s main trendy construction types to illustrate that statement best. A Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture are the elements that come, as it were, to justify the tallness of these structures and take into account all ecological concerns as if to alleviate their higher demand in the required material, men and money.
The above picture is for illustration and is of Yanko Design.
Green Skyscrapers that add a Touch of Nature + Sustainability to Modern Architecture!
Skyscrapers have taken over most of the major cities today. They’re symbols of wealth and power! And most of the skylines today are adorned with glistening glass skyscrapers. They are considered the face of modern architecture. Although all that glass and dazzle can become a little tiring to watch. Hence, architects are incorporating these tall towers with a touch of nature and greenery! The result is impressive skyscrapers merged with an element of sustainability. These green spaces help us maintain a modern lifestyle while staying connected to nature. We definitely need more of these green skyscraper designs in our urban cities!
Zaha Hadid Architects designed a pair of impressive skyscrapers that are linked by planted terraces, for Shenzhen, China. Named Tower C, the structure is 400 metres in height and is supposed to be one of the tallest buildings in the city. The terraces are filled with greenery and aquaponic gardens! They were built to be an extension of a park that is located alongside the tower and as a green public space.
Polish designers Pawel Lipiński and Mateusz Frankowsk created The Mashambas Skyscraper, a vertical farm tower, that is in fact modular! The tower can be assembled, disassembled and transported to different locations in Africa. It was conceptualised in an attempt to help and encourage new agricultural communities across Africa. The skyscraper would be moved to locations that have poor soil quality or suffer from droughts, so as to increase crop yield and produce.
The Living Skyscraper was chosen among 492 submissions that were received for the annual eVolo competition that has been running since 2006. One of the main goals of the project is to grow a living skyscraper on the principle of sustainable architecture. The ambitious architectural project has been envisioned for Manhattan and proposes using genetically modified trees to shape them into literal living skyscrapers. It is designed to serve as a lookout tower for New York City with its own flora and fauna while encouraging ecological communications between office buildings and green recreation centers. The building will function as a green habitable space in the middle of the concrete metropolis.
ODA’s explorations primarily focus on tower designs, in an attempt to bring versatility and a touch of greenery to NY’s overtly boxy and shiny cityscape. Architectural explorations look at residential units with dedicated ‘greenery zones’ that act as areas of the social congregation for the building’s residents. Adorned with curvilinear, organic architecture, and interspersed with greenery, these areas give the residents a break from the concrete-jungle aesthetic of the skyscraper-filled city. They act as areas of reflection and of allowing people to connect with nature and with one another.
Heatherwick Studio built a 20-storey residential skyscraper in Singapore called EDEN. Defined as “a counterpoint to ubiquitous glass and steel towers”, EDEN consists of a vertical stack of homes, each amped with a lush garden. The aim was to create open and flowing living spaces that are connected with nature and high on greenery.
Designed by UNStudio and COX Architecture, this skyscraper in Melbourne, Australia features a pair of twisting towers placed around a ‘green spine’ of terraces, platforms, and verandahs. Called Southbank by Beulah, the main feature of the structure is its green spine, which functions as the key organizational element of the building.
Mad Arkitekter created WoHo, a wooden residential skyscraper in Berlin. The 98-meter skyscraper will feature 29 floors with different spaces such as apartment rentals, student housing, a kindergarten, bakery, workshop, and more. Planters and balconies and terraces filled with greenery make this skyscraper a very green one indeed!
Algae as energy resources are in their beginnings and are seen as high potential. Extensive research work has dealt with algae as an energy source in recent decades. As a biofuel, they are up to 6 times more efficient than e.g. comparable fuels from corn or rapeseed. The Tubular Bioreactor Algae Skyscraper focuses on the production of microalgae and their distribution using existing pipelines. Designed by Johannes Schlusche, Paul Böhm, Raffael Grimm, the towers are positioned along the transalpine pipeline in a barren mountain landscape. Water is supplied from the surrounding mountain streams and springs, and can also be obtained from the Mediterranean using saltwater.
Tesseract by Bryant Lau Liang Cheng proposes an architecture system that allows residents to participate in not just the design of their own units; but the programs and facilities within the building itself. This process is inserted between the time of purchase for the unit and the total time required to complete construction – a period that is often ignored and neglected. Through this process, residents are allowed to choose their amenities and their communities, enhancing their sense of belonging in the process. Housing units will no longer be stacked in repetition with no relation whatsoever to the residents living in it – a sentimental bond between housing and men results.
In a world devoid of greenery, Designers Nathakit Sae-Tan & Prapatsorn Sukkaset have envisioned the concept of Babel Towers, mega skyscrapers devoted to preserving horticultural stability within a single building. The Babel towers would play an instrumental role in the propagation of greenery in and around the area. These towers would also become attraction centers for us humans, like going to a zoo, but a zoo of plants. Seems a little sad, saying this, but I do hope that we never reach a day where the Babel Tower becomes a necessity. I however do feel that having towers like these now, in our cities, would be a beautiful idea. Don’t you think so too?
Do Buildings Have To Be Permanent? wondered Jack Berning in Freethink that said in passing holds lot more stories like this. One question, though. Apart from the Modular construction being like building with LEGOs on steroids, are we back to a certain Nomadism that evolved into Sedentarism of permanent, immovable urbanisation of towns and villages throughout the world? Could such a trend work its way to the MENA region since it is perhaps best at knowing all about nomadism? Besides, and in this context, I wonder if building a new capital in Egypt is worth the trouble. In any case, let us see what it is all about.
The picture above is for illustration and is of Weebly
Modular construction is like building with LEGOs on steroids. Here’s how it could transform our cities.
Do Buildings Have To Be Permanent?
We live in a world surrounded by homes, shopping centers, and office buildings built to withstand the test of time, but there’s a problem with this focus on permanence.
In our dynamic and ever-changing world, permanent structures often end up generating massive amounts of waste, whether through demolition or abandonment. In fact, global construction waste is expected to reach over two-billion tons per year by 2025.
That’s why modular construction, a sustainable building technique that dates back to the 1800s, is starting to pick up steam once again.
What is Modular Construction?
The concept behind modular building is reminiscent of a popular childhood pastime: LEGO sets. The construction process involves transporting multiple prefabricated buildings (the “bricks”) which are connected on-site to form a complete structure.
Global construction waste is expected to reach over two-billion tons per year by 2025.
The prefabricated sections are assembled away from the construction site and can be stacked in various configurations, such as end-to-end or stacked one on top of the other. Once the prefabricated modules have been placed, they’re conjoined to form one cohesive structure. It’s like LEGOs on steroids, using cranes for assembly rather than your fingertips.
And because of the ease with which these structures can be disassembled and transported elsewhere for reuse, modular construction could lead to exponential increases in efficiency in the building industry, if it becomes more widespread. This idea isn’t new, but recent unfoldings in technology, economic demands, and shifting mindsets are opening the door to a new wave of interest.
The Benefits of Modular Building
Modular construction takes a radically different approach to building. Because much of the process takes place in a factory beforehand, projects can be completed in half the amount of time that traditional methods take, where all work is completed on-site. Factory-based manufacturing helps reduce delays from typical obstacles like bad weather and vandalism.
This time savings means a faster return on investment for landowners. And because prefab buildings use lightweight materials that are less expensive, they have the potential to deliver momentous cost savings. In the European and U.S. markets alone, modular construction could lead to an annual savings of up to $22 billion.
Because much of the process takes place in a factory beforehand, projects can be completed in half the amount of time that traditional methods take.
Perhaps most importantly, modular construction is more sustainable than traditional construction methods. Modular structures can be disassembled and relocated for new uses, minimizing the demand for raw materials and the energy expended to produce those materials. Additionally, building in a factory helps eliminate waste. Inventory can be more easily controlled and building materials protected from damage.
A few more perks — a primarily indoor construction environment leads to improved safety and less accidents for construction crews. It also results in improved air quality within the buildings themselves, as a factory-controlled setting eradicates the potential of moisture getting trapped within walls.
The primary drawback of modular buildings is less old-fashioned character or charm in their outward appearance, but that doesn’t mean the structures aren’t aesthetically pleasing. And despite a common misconception, modular buildings are just as structurally sound as traditional ones — they’re required to meet the same building codes.
iMod Structures Lead the Way
Although modular construction has yet to be embraced by the masses, one company is paving the way. iMod Structures builds reconfigurable, relocatable buildings all over the world, from Virginia to Guam to Haiti. The company was founded in 2009 by John Diserens and Craig Severance, both former real estate investors.
Their factory, a 100-year-old structure where U.S. naval submarines were previously built, is located on Mare Island in Vallejo, California. iMod’s frames are manufactured in Mexico and China, but at the factory they’re equipped with walls, windows, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
The building process includes transporting the outfitted frames to a construction site, offloading them with a crane, sticking them together (just like LEGOs), and of course, setting up plumbing and electrical.
The secret to iMod’s efficiency is that they only produce a single, rectangular-shaped frame. Its shape and size makes it easy to transport while also providing versatility. For example, the structures are currently being used as classrooms that can adapt to meet the changing demographics of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
“Typically, it would take nine to 15 months to manufacture a classroom out in the field,” explains Mike McKibbin, the head of operations for iMod. “We’re doing that in twelve days.”
Once the demand for classrooms in a given region dissipates, iMod can simply disassemble the structure, load up their frames, and transport them elsewhere for reuse, without having to waste materials over the long term.
Modular buildings can be disassembled and relocated for new uses, minimizing the demand for raw materials and the energy expended to produce those materials.
“We don’t want our buildings to ever end up in a landfill. Ever,” says Reed Walker, head of production and design. “We want to take that system and use it again and again and again.”
While iMod’s capabilities are already impressive, they’re only beginning to scratch the surface of what’s possible. What if entire communities could be relocated and repurposed based on population changes?
Does any new construction really need to be permanent? The utilitarian benefits of modular construction hold the potential to transform our cities and make the construction industry more sustainable as a whole.
Abdulla Al Humaidi Blazes Sustainability Trail With New Themed Resort
May 22, 2021
In a modern world where climate change has provoked widespread concern, it’s hard to create a new large-scale construction project without being mindful of its impact on the world’s environment. However, some projects go above and beyond in this regard, showcasing the ability of human ingenuity to develop innovative projects that can still focus on sustainability goals. Such is the case with the new London-based themed resort being developed by Abdulla Al Humaidi. The Kuwaiti European Holding CEO has made sustainability such a focus of his work that it has drawn widespread praise from interested parties around the world.
Abdulla Al Humaidi Answers Call to Action
To better understand how the new project will create a sustainable tourist attraction in London, it can first be important to examine how development in urban areas has been problematic in the past. While cities across the globe have created hubs of commercial, social, and economic progress, they have also sometimes been singled out for the drain they place on resources. This can manifest through development projects that prioritize a variety of metrics besides sustainability, leaving the environment low on the list of priorities for design and construction.
Acutely aware of this paradigm, Abdulla Al Humaidi entered into the development of his new themed resort intent on breaking that mold. He knew from the start that he wanted the tourist attraction, set to open in 2024, to not only be a place that could bring entertainment and joy to visitors from across the globe but also to be a place that could step up to its responsibilities to the planet and the local community. To accomplish this goal, he made sure his design team placed environmental sustainability as a top priority throughout every phase of the project’s creation.
Reducing Carbon Footprint
One of the most serious environmental issues the world is contending with at present is the impact of climate change. As carbon emissions have collected in the planet’s atmosphere, global temperatures have warmed, creating some of the hottest years on record. This heat has contributed to a host of issues across the planet, including rising sea levels, intense weather events, and the endangerment of a range of animal species.
A major driver of this climate change has been the emission of carbon-containing gasses. These gasses, often a byproduct of the burning of fossil fuels, have been singled out as one of the main sustainability concerns of the 21st century. The emergence of this threat has left many industries with a central question as to how to offset their usage of carbon-containing fuels while also providing for the energy needed to operate their commercial endeavors.
With a deep understanding of the problems that can be created by a large carbon footprint, Abdulla Al Humaidi has placed particular emphasis on alleviating these issues in the themed resort’s design. As a result, the resort has announced that it will be completely carbon neutral with respect to all of its operational activities. This announcement has been singled out as a major advancement for not only the global tourism industry but also for other major developments in London and beyond. When completed, the resort will have the distinction of being the only attraction of its kind to be operationally carbon neutral.
Focus of Abdulla Al Humaidi on Wildlife Habitats
While carbon neutrality is an important metric by which sustainability is measured, there are other concerns called out by environmentalists that also warrant consideration. One such concern is the impact that continued development can have on native wildlife populations. In the absence of efforts to create protected spaces for wildlife amidst development, urban centers run the risk of eliminating the entirety of a species’ natural habitat, leaving it no options for continued habitation in the area.
The Kuwaiti European Holding CEO has also taken steps to address these concerns in the design of his London resort. In this regard, he has allocated additional funds and resources for the creation of protected wildlife habitats along the River Thames to ensure that native wildlife populations will have spaces in which they can continue to make a home. The initiative figures to not only help maintain native wildlife populations but also to increase biodiversity as other animals find new homes in the area. In doing so, the development provides another win for the environment and for the continued protection of the area’s remaining wild places.
Of course, development is also of interest to residents of an area around a new construction project. While there has been much excitement about the new themed resort in London due to its potential to bring world-class entertainment and economic stimulus, there has also been a desire to maintain some community areas connected to the newly developed space. This has been another focus of Abdulla Al Humaidi, who has also listed sustainable community development as a high priority for his construction projects in London and elsewhere in the world. This has been done with a deep understanding that development can oftentimes be a balance between preserving elements of an existing community while also bringing it new opportunities for employment and enjoyment.
In the case of the London resort, one way this has been accomplished has been through the creation of numerous green spaces connected to the site’s overall design. These green spaces will be accessible by the public and will allow for a pleasing place to step away from some of the urban elements of the city and find a greater sense of peace and quiet. The green spaces will allow community members to engage in recreation, relaxation, and increased appreciation of the area surrounding their residences and gain greater access to the new development and the existing amenities present in the area.
While the above overview amounts to just a small look at the positive impact the new resort will have on the environment and local community, it begins to provide a picture of how it is breaking new ground when it comes to sustainability. In pursuing this course of action for his new development, Abdulla Al Humaidi is not only making a meaningful contribution towards alleviating these concerns, but he is also helping to further the global conversation on responsible development. This is a conversation that will no doubt feature his efforts often in the years to come as the resort’s construction showcases the manner in which an ambitious undertaking can be accomplished in a sustainable manner.
GLOBALFLEET‘s article authored by Alison Pittaway argues that Egypt’s new capital is a smart city in the making. So it will but some people are not happy. Let us see what’s it all about.
The image above is for illustration and is of Reuters.
Egypt’s new capital – a smart city in the making
18 May 21
Aside from the recent troubles in Gaza threatening war in the Middle East, decades of population growth and unplanned urban sprawl have taken their tole on Egypt’s economy.
The Government is building several cities, including a new capital, one million low-cost homes, plus an infrastructure of highways and bridges.
This bustling regeneration has helped Egypt remain in growth in 2020, despite the economic shock of the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, some people are not happy. Citizens have been displaced and lost their homes to the building work. Others have seen their neighbourhoods transform too quickly. Analysts wonder how much of a difference the infrastructure boom will make while economic problems persist.
A new capital city
Under construction in the desert, east of Cairo (due to open later this year) is a a futuristic-looking city that many are calling “the new capital city”. Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi recently referred to it as “Hope city”. It’s officially referred to simply as the “New Administrative Capital”. It will be Egypt’s first smart city and is expected to house 6.5 million people. Covering 700 square kilometres of desert, it’s the size of Singapore.
Some people worry that the pace of change in Egypt is too fast and that the “old ways”, such as selling tomatoes from a donkey cart or driving a rickshaw, are being bulldozed and the people who rely on them forgotten.
Investing in the future
On the positive side, in Eastern Cairo and beyond, 1.1 trillion Egyptian pounds ($70 billion) (€53.7 billion) will be spent on transport between now and 2024. A third of that is for the new road network, which will connect many more citizens to transport networks, basic services and create the foundations for a raft of mobility services.
While being interviewed on television recently, Sisi was emphatic about the new developments: “We need to do this so we can make people’s lives easier, so we can reduce the amount of lost time, reduce people’s stress and stop the fuel being used causing more pollution.”
A 2014 World Bank Study put the cost of congestion in greater Cairo at 3.6% of gross domestic product. But while new roads are being built, old ones are poorly maintained.
Middle East’s first mobile natural gas fuel station opens in Egypt
Meanwhile, Egypt’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources has launched the first mobile facility to supply cars with compressed natural gas as part of the sector’s efforts to increase the supply of the fuel across the country.
The new station can transport and store up to 5,000 cubic meters of gas and supply up to 1,000 cars every 24 hours to public, industrial and commercial facilities.
The Ministry has plans for 10 new mobile stations across the country, especially in areas of seasonal consumption, such as tourist spots and resorts.
It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. Will Egypt’s smart city be a step too far or will it become a shining example to the rest of the world? Time will tell.
Printing our way out of the Netherlands housing crisis by Ivo Jongsma, Eindhoven University of Technology could not only resolve the Netherlands’ housing crisis but an intelligent way of sorting out the MENA region’s shortage of endemic lack of proper accommodation, particularly in those heavily populated areas. It is worth noting that the end product bears similarities with the vernacular architecture of many of the MENA housing typologies.
It sometimes seems as if freshly printed concrete has a will of its own. The mixture constantly reacts to changes in temperature during curing and tends to collapse like a plum pudding when there is insufficient stiffness. To complicate matters further, the printing process needs to account for inclined walls and the changing weight of the structure.
With a little imagination, you can compare concrete printing to walking on a very thin tightrope: you must not print too quickly (the structure then becomes unstable) but also not too slowly (the printed layers will no longer adhere). It’s no small feat.
Customization on a large scale
Under these difficult conditions, Theo Salet and his team have spent years looking for ways to develop safe, rigid structures through which unique homes with a distinctive character can roll out of the concrete printer. Customization on a large scale instead of standardization.
The project caused him some headaches. Salet is a professor and dean of the Department of the Built Environment at TU/e and the driving force behind the Project Milestone, a collaboration between TU/e, Eindhoven municipality, construction company Van Wijnen, building materials manufacturer Saint Gobain Weber Beamix, engineering firm Witteveen + Bos and housing investor Vesteda.
For years, Salet worked with Ph.D. students Rob Wolfs and Zeeshan Ahmend and various master’s students and third parties on the construction of the first completely 3D-printed house that meets all building requirements. He regularly had to swallow disappointments, such as during the search for the right combination of concrete and insulation material for the sandwich walls, but these were just as often followed by the realization that his team was making progress.
“The fact that we’ve already come this far makes me a proud man,” Salet says as he strolls the grounds near the 3D-printed home in Eindhoven’s Meerhoven district this morning. He is also proud of how the knowledge developed has found its way to industry so quickly. Printing a wall is one thing, but producing a complete house is a different kettle of fish. This can only be done with the right industrial partners, emphasizes the professor.
“What’s nice is that there’s still so much to be gained just by learning from this experience,” he explains as his eye travels across the structure. The shape of the house is inspired by that of a boulder, a polished version of the housing that used to be featured in the Flintstones cartoon, with a sleek and modern interior.
First occupant of 3D concrete printed house in Eindhoven receives the key
The first tenant of the first Dutch home made of 3D-printed concrete will receive the key today, April 30. The house in Eindhoven, the first of five from Project Milestone, fully complies with all strict Dutch building requirements.
The house is a detached single-story home with 94 square meters of net floor area, a generous living room and two bedrooms. It is located in the Eindhoven neighborhood of Bosrijk. The home consists of 24 printed concrete elements, which were printed layer by layer at the print factory in Eindhoven. The elements were transported by trucks to the building site where they were placed on a foundation.
There’s a reason Salet is putting his heart and soul into this project. The urgency is profound, he stresses several times this morning. “This is not about the ambition of some scientist, it’s about the rock-hard necessity of making major changes to the way we build,” Salet says, referring to the ever-expanding housing shortage and the pressing climate issue, among other things. “Understand that we need to build in the Netherlands alone a million homes in 10 years and make 7.5 million homes drastically more sustainable in 30 years. In addition, infrastructure from the 1960s and 1970s is heading towards the end of its design life. We are facing an unprecedented challenge.”
Unprecedented challenges call for rigorous measures. In fact, the professor argues, you need to turn the entire chain upside down. The construction sector must be more focused on the demands of society and, at the same time, more productive and sustainable. People, profit, planet, to put it briefly. According to Salet, this is the path along which we must pursue the transition. Close collaboration between academia, industry and the government is of great importance—the triple helix model. Salet: “Make that the quadruple helix model. You have to involve the public as well. Isn’t it crazy that residents barely have a say in their own built environment?”
In order to break the chain, the need must first be felt by all parties involved. Salet: “Take the government, which must realize that the housing shortage is an issue for which it does not have an answer, simply because no one has the answer. The academic world can stimulate innovation, but there has to be a concrete question on the table. Industry must also be given the opportunity to make the transition to high-quality manufacturing. The municipality of Eindhoven understood this in the Milestone project and dared to take on this unique challenge.”
Indeed, the government can create the conditions that foster partnerships which accelerate innovation. “Create pilot projects to experiment with and then scale them up. In tenders, look not only at price but also whether the construction project scores highly in areas such as circularity or innovation in the construction and manufacturing industries. If the urgency is felt, parties will seek each other out.” The professor points to Eindhoven-based VDL, for example, which will be working with Van Wijnen in Heerenveen.
In the media, Salet regularly reads that standardization should become the new norm. Modular construction is gathering more and more attention, but he dismisses this idea. “We’ll then start delivering mass production and, in a while, the same houses will line every street. That would be extremely monotonous; no one is waiting for that and it isn’t necessary either. You have to digitize the entire process from design to construction. A robot doesn’t care what shape it has to print, so you then get industrial customization with variation. Let’s make that step in one go, as challenging as it may be.”
If the construction industry can make a dramatic shift, as Salet says it can, the benefits of industrial customization will be huge. Productivity will skyrocket. Additionally, you will need less high-quality craftsmanship in a market with a desperate shortage of skilled workers. The heavy work will disappear. This will make more room for women in the sector while the health of employees will also improve; a bad back or worn knees will be a thing of the past.
The biggest gains, however, will be in the areas of sustainability and circularity. “The amount of material we currently use in construction is unprecedented. We need to cut down.” Concrete, for example, is one of the largest emitters of CO2 worldwide. By both adjusting the composition and reducing the user quantity, giant leaps can be made. The reuse of materials and elements of a 3D-printed house should also become possible in the future. “We’re currently working hard on that.” Salet is hopeful and sets his sights high: “It’s absolutely possible to use 50% fewer raw materials and increase construction speed by 35%.”
For this reason, the professor would prefer to continue developing the printing method as quickly as possible. The momentum is there. In addition to the first home, he wants to realize a second house in the near future which will be a step further along than its predecessor: a second floor. In total, Project Milestone covers five concrete-printed homes. Salet: “I now want to work from industrial product to design instead of the other way around. For the first house we first created a design without an estimate of whether the printer can produce certain shapes, so we tried to force the printer. The question should be: which products can the printer handle? From there, we can create a variety of designs. Artificial intelligence is going to help with this and will become necessary in order to keep the quality of the printed work consistent, especially if we’re going to print a home on site.”
Meanwhile, research into 3D concrete printing is gaining popularity around the world. “We’ve set the tone,” says Salet. “In terms of technological development, we’re at the forefront. Printing layers and building a wall can be done by others. But producing an entire house that meets the strict requirements of a building permit and is also inhabited, that’s truly unique. We can be very proud of that. We’re increasingly understanding the will of printed concrete.”
Originally posted on looking beyond borders: As a key player in the recent Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire and with its diplomats more active than they have been in years, Egypt is back as a major influencer in Middle Eastern affairs. From Gaza to Libya, the Eastern Mediterranean to the Horn of Africa, Cairo is now key in…
Originally posted on Eli Lester: The African Colosseum in El Djem, Tunisia
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