Located 100 kilometers from Beijing, the Lakeside Plugin Tower was developed as a model prototype for a city concept using sustainable, net-zero design principles. The tower serves as an important model for a low-carbon eco city concept, called “Xiong’an New Area,” being advanced by the central government. The urban design will use 100 percent clean electricity, and 10 percent of the area will be protected as permanent farmland.
The structure creates 480 square meters of living and working space and was developed by People’s Architecture Office in partnership with the Shenzhen Institute of Building Research, a China-based engineering company helping to lead the country in both green design and urban development.
Once completed, the Xiong’an New Area will become a congestion-free, sustainable housing region that will serve as an alternative to the capital. The government hopes to keep the new area affordable by making all housing state-owned and subsidized.
Built on a foundation made of distributed concrete piers and raised one story above the ground to lessen environmental impact on the building site, the tower adheres to China’s “sponge city concept,” the idea of building structures above the ground to allow stormwater to permeate the earth below to reduce extreme flooding and surface pollution, especially in metropolitan areas. The elevated-building concept also allows for sunlight to better access the site and produce more greenery.
The prefabricated process serves to both reduce costs and make construction more efficient. Panels can be installed manually through a locking system using a single tool, so entire sections of the tower can be removed or added without affecting the main structure.
Solar panels cover the roof of the building, which also serve as a way to heat the floors. The windows are designed to allow for natural ventilation, and an off-grid sewer system creates on-site sustainable wastewater treatment.
Photography by Jin Weiqi and People’s Architecture Office