Triple glazed balconies at eco-housing development in Nanjing offer dynamic take on passive green design philosophy
BDP has been appointed to design an exemplar very low carbon and sustainable apartment building in Nanjing, China, by regional developer Landsea which specialises in green, high-tech residential developments. BDP’s design will showcase the building’s sustainable technologies which are at an internationally recognised standard.
The design team had to quickly assimilate Chinese cultural differences into the design such as extended families sharing an apartment, along with the requirement to separate kitchens from living spaces to accommodate vigorous wok cooking.
The external expression of the building has significant elements that are integral to the green design philosophy. Apartments have full height louvered triple glazing on the balconies to the south east elevation. These balconies offer a changeable and dynamic representation of the passive design philosophy, allowing free flowing natural ventilation via the open louvers or when closed acting as passive solar winter-gardens depending on the seasons.
Shared double height additional outdoor space for cooking, along with traditional balconies and roof level communal gardens are also provided. At roof level semi-open tai-chi decks are provided beneath sculptural rainwater harvesting collectors to encourage social interaction amongst neighbours.
The design was restricted by predetermined massing and volumes, but BDP was still able to develop the proposals to exemplary environmental standards which outperform the best in European low-energy residential buildings (such as Passivhaus) and which challenge the forthcoming UK zero carbon homes standards.
In line with BDP’s strategy of employing ‘lean, mean and green’ design measures to achieve the project energy targets, the design incorporates advanced passive measures such as super-insulation, very low air leakage and elimination of thermal bridging to maximise energy savings at minimal cost. The design also takes into account several active technologies to further reduce the carbon emissions and running costs of the building, such as solar hot water collectors, photovoltaic cells, advanced heat recovery, LED lighting, CHP and earth tubes.