A new Calla lily-shaped research center for Wuhan University is set to bloom in China as one of the most sustainable buildings the world. Netherlands-based firm Grontmij, in collaboration with Soeters Van Eldonk architects, recently won the award to design and construct the new research center which will be both zero carbon and zero energy and include a slew of other green building strategies.

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Located in Wuhan, the Wuhan New Energy Center (also called the Energy Flower) was designed to resemble a lily, with a 140 meter tower in the center surrounded by lower towers in the shape of flowers and covered in vegetation. The center tower expands upwards into a bowl and is coated in a large solar array facing the sun, soaking up rays just like a real plant. A vertical axis wind turbine shoots up out of the center of the tower like a pistil. Rainwater is collected in the bowl and a 120 meter solar chimney in the tower helps expel hot air from the building while pulling in cooler air below.

The energy efficient office building research center will be zero energy and help Wuhan achieve its goal of becoming the most sustainable city in China. Grontmij and Soeters Van Eldonk Architects are working together on this project and expect the building to achieve a Three-star Award in the China Green Building Evaluation System and also expect it to be the first office building in the world to meet receive the BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ accreditation in the BRE’s International classification. Construction is expected to begin in November of 2010.

Via Ecofriend