BIG devise sustainable design for 200 m Shenzhen skyscraper
Harnessing nature is the defining feature of BIG's winning skyscraper design that they hope to be the initiation of a new generation of skyscrapers. In collaboration with ARUP and Transsolar, the firm was awarded first-prize in an international competition to devise a sustainable and efficient design for Shenzhen International Energy Mansion, the regional headquarters for the Shenzhen Energy Company.
“We propose to make the Shenzhen Energy Mansion the first specimen of a new species of office buildings that exploits the buildings interface with the external elements - sun, daylight, humidity, wind – as a source to create maximum comfort and quality inside," said BIG's founder Bjarke Ingels. "The Shenzhen Energy Mansion will appear as a subtle mutation of the classic skyscraper – a natural evolution rather than a desperate revolution.”
To rise 200 metres in the centre of Shenzhen, the 96,000 sq m project will be integrated within the surrounding environment and designed to withstand the tropical climate of the city. BIG’s winning proposal was selected by the jury experts from Shenzhen Municipal Planning Bureau chaired by Alejandro Zaera-Polo and client representatives.
BIG believe that skyscrapers need not be the energy-guzzlers of the architecture world and say that their design acknowledges the benefits of the evolution of the skyscraper: "an economically efficient way to provide flexible, functional and well illuminated workspaces for dense populations of professionals", whilst using the façade to both passively and actively reduce energy consumption. The design envisions combining a practical and efficient floor plan layout with a sustainable façade that works to this effect. The façade is conceived as a folded skin that shades the office complex from direct sunlight and integrates solar thermal panels, reducing the overall energy consumption of the building.
"By folding the façade in an origami like shape we achieve a structure with closed and open parts," BIG explain. "The closed parts provide a highly-insulated façade, while blocking the direct sunlight. On the outside the closed parts are fitted with solar thermal heat panels that power the air conditioning and provide dehumidification for the working spaces.
"The folded wall provides a free view through clear glass in one direction creating a condition with plenty of diffused daylight by reflecting the direct sunlight between the interior panels. Even with direct sun from east or west, the majority of the solar rays reflect off the glass, due to the flat angle of the window. The reflected rays increase the efficiency of solar thermal energy panels. The combination of minimal passive solar heating and active solar panels reduce the energy consumption by more than 60%."