Dutch architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio recently unveiled a new set of elegantly twisting sustainable skyscrapers that will grace the skyline of Hangzou, China by 2012. Dubbed Raffles City, the design features two 60-story tall buildings set near the Qiangtan River in the captial city of Zhejiang province. The project will be a mixed-use development with office, retail, residential and hotel space and will be built according to LEED green building standards in hopes of achieving a Gold rating. On top of the green building techniques, the project aims for urban sustainability – it’s designed as a hub of activity, commerce and transportation meant to condense life into a smaller footprint.
Hangzou’s Raffles City will be the 6th Raffles City in a series of large-scale shopping centers developed by CapitaLand in Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Bahrain. The new 300,000 sq meter development will seek LEED Gold certification and will focus on environmentally-friendly building materials, energy efficiency and the reduction of material demands. Situated in the heart of the city, the center will provide for shopping, leisure activities, business and gatherings. Open and operating 24 hours a day, Raffles City aims to be a one-stop shop for all needs, and at 60-stories high and with a building footprint of 40,000 sq meters, it definitely qualifies for urban density.
Ben van Berkel of UNStudio believes sustainable architecture requires that is it attainable and affordable, which is why this project seems more subdued than some of the skyscraper designs that we’ve seen. The project seems practical – a mixed-use development, lots of office, retail and residential space, combining a transportation hub, ground floor public plaza. We’re excited to see affordable and practical designs such as this, and look forward to the day when sustainable architecture is the new norm and achieving green building certification is just part of the status quo.