Architect Steven Holl always appeals to our sustainable side, capturing our imagination with beautiful designs that incorporate both social and environmental responsibility. His new design for a mixed use development in China is bringing a green sensibility to the skyline of Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan. The ‘Sliced Porosity Block’ will house offices, apartments, retail, a hotel, cafes and restaurants within five towers and a multi-level plaza rivaling Rockefeller Center. This high-performance building will integrate green strategies in heating, cooling, lighting and materials to attain an LEED gold certification.

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The design is meant to draw natural daylight into the plaza where three ponds play multiple roles, including skylights to a six-story retail space below. The eccentric shapes of the towers allow vertical space to be filled within this urban setting without blocking daylight from neighboring buildings. Within the voids of the staggered construction, three pavilions will create distinct spaces, each created by a different designer including Steven Holl, Lebbeus Woods and Ai Wei Wei.

The ‘Sliced Porosity Block’ will use a geoexchange system to heat and cool the buildings. Ponds within the plaza will harvest rainwater and provide habitat for natural water vegetation – which will help moderate and cool ambient temperatures. The buildings will use high-performance glazing, energy-efficient equipment and locally sourced materials. Construction is expected to be completed by 2010.