All images © Vincent Callebaut Architectures
Presented as part of a larger masterplan, this project by Vincent Callebaut Architectures has been designed to combat potentially damaging migration patterns in China. As more of the county’s vast population moves from rural areas to larger cities, urban resources have been stretched, resulting in incidences of overcrowding, pollution and substandard living.
Positioned between Mount Lu (a UNESCO world heritage site) and Poyang Lake, the development seeks to promote a balanced lifestyle in provincial areas with a vibrant mix of both private and public uses that encourage eco-responsible living and working. Within this framework, ‘wooden orchids’ offers local residents a vast retail complex that also includes a public library, a sports center, organic food courts and a farmers market.
From an environmental perspective, a number of technologies have been integrated within the design. Vehicular movement is rationalized to improve and prioritize the pedestrian environment, while a ‘pro-active landscape’ provides open spaces and an informal network of pedestrian links. Streets, plazas and parking areas contribute to capturing water through a series of ‘rain gardens’. Surface water is then filtered through biofiltration means before being released into the wider drainage network.
A passive geothermal cooling and heating system is also employed, while a south-facing orientation strategy incorporates large photovoltaic canopies. At roof level, a large sky garden integrates children’s playgrounds, food gardens, and sports facilities. The project recently received an honorary mention as part of an international competition backed by the UIA.