Waterfronts that were once the bustling heart of industrial British cities are now more commonly seen as the hub of hot new property developments. However, initiatives like the 36 Calls Design Competition leave us confident that these property developments have the potential to be iconic projects with some great green credentials. We were particularly impressed with the shortlisted proposal by Aedas, which gives recognition to the industrial past of the waterfront with its ultra-efficient container-inspired modules, whilst injecting some truly modern and sustainable construction features into the complex.

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The 36 Calls Design Competition was launched in Leeds in 2009 by The Architects Journal and British developer Citu. The competition brief demanded an iconic commercial space to fill a gap on the river Aire in Leeds, Uk.

Aedas’ “Container Calls” proposal integrates Passivhaus principles in its design while aiming to achieve a minimum BREEAM Excellent rating. The Aedas group explains: “The fabric of the modules is to adopt ‘passivhaus’ principles: high thermal mass, low air leakage and high insulation… The building has the potential to achieve zero carbon with the inclusion of further residual energy and a community combined heat and power plant.”

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The ‘Contained Calls’ is also sustainable in its quest to create a a new way for the community to interact within the building. The project is designed to grow with the community, as the stackable nature of these container elements allows for change through the addition and subtraction of modules.

There are more innovative designs to be seen in the 6 proposals that were shortlisted for the 36 Calls Design Competition by the following companies: P+HS Architects,Cartwright Pickard Architects, Letts Wheeler, Project O, Fletcher Crane and Aedas. The final winner of the competition was Fletcher Crane Architects.

+ Aedas