It is not at all surprising that Steven Holl Architects will receive the 2011 American Architecture Award for their groundbreaking Horizontal Skyscraper in Shenzhen. When the design for Vankey's Platinum LEED certified Headquarters in China was first unveiled, it created a collective "aha!" moment: of course it makes sense to flip a vertical tower on its side and prop it up on blocks so that life can still proliferate underneath it. Only, nobody had done it before. By suspending the tower on eight cores 50 meters apart using cable-stay technology usually reserved for bridges, the firm found a way to displace very little of the building site while still creating a generous amount of office space. More details about the Horizontal Skyscraper and images from Matthias Wolff are available after the jump.
As long as the Empire State Building is tall, the horizontal skyscraper is enormous and could have had a disastrous environmental impact. Instead, by pushing it off the ground, covering it in green roofs, and planting up to 60,000 square feet of greenery below it, the site has been almost completely restored to its original state. Add to that a rainwater harvesting system, greywater recycling, operable louvers that control daylighting, high-performance glass, and 1,400 square meters of photovoltaic panels that provide 12.5% of the building’s energy, and you’ve got a tower that is about as sustainable as a building this size can be.
This is not the first award that Steven Holl has received. To date, the firm has been awarded the AIA Architecture Honor Award, the Green Good Design Award, and the Best Green Project in Good Design category of the Good Business Awards. Naturally, not everyone can spare more than 1 million square feet of horizontal space for offices, but where possible, this project sets the bar for accommodating large amounts of people in a comfortable, green way. A special exhibition of all the awarded buildings will be held at an annual symposium in October, 2011.
Via Arch Daily
images via Matthias Wolf