Spiralling to greater heights

Elena
Thursday 06 Sep 2012

CPG Consultants incoporate sustainable design in Solaris

Located within Fusionopolis at Singapore's One-North, Solaris is an award-winning building that demonstrates possibilities in ecological building design. The building comprises two tower blocks separated by a large naturally-ventilated atrium linked by a series of sky bridges. With an innovative vertical green concept, it incorporates extensive eco-infrastructure and sustainable design features.

The key architectural element is the uninterrupted 1.5 km long ecological armature which starts from the ground at the adjacent one-north Park, spiralling up and wrapping around the facade, and culminating at the summit of the cascading roof-gardens of the building. The continuity of the landscaping is a key component of the project's ecological design concept. The landscape ramp, with deep overhangs and lush greenery, is the main element for ambient cooling of the building. Where the spiralling armature meets the ground, the Eco-cell brings daylight and natural ventilation into the car parks below via the landscape shaft. The lowest level of the Eco-cell houses the primary storage tank for the rainwater harvesting system which is capable of irrigating all the plants in the building. A solar light shaft which cuts diagonally through the South Tower brings in daylight to the inner areas of the building which are remote from external windows.

As the internal lighting operates on a system of sensors which reduces energy use by automatically turning off the lights when there is adequate daylight, the solar shaft helps to reduce the lighting energy consumption. Balconies within the solar light shaft add visual interest and create dramatic vistas. The building's overall energy consumption represents a reduction of over 36% compared to local precedents. The high performance façade contributes to an ETTV (External Thermal Transfer Value) of less than 40 W/m2. With over 8,300 m2 of landscaping, Solaris introduces greenery which exceeds the building's site area.

Solaris strives to retain the site's existing ecosystems, rather than replace them. All efforts were made to achieve natural ventilation at the common areas such as the Art Atrium, stairs, lobbies, sky bridges and toilets. Actuated skylight and rainscreen louvres were introduced at the top and ground level respectively to promote stack effect ventilation during hot days. The actuated skylight will be closed automatically during wet weather. Due to the innovative use of porous rainscreen on two opposite sides of the ground floor, wind-driven rain into the atrium space could be effectively eliminated, yet allowing sufficient cross-ventilation to improve interior air flow and comfort levels.

The facade design, which is a sensitive response to the climate, originated with the analysis of the sun-path. Facade studies analysing the solar-path determined the shape and depth of the sunshade louvers. The louvers, which also double up as light-shelves, ‘rise' at strategic locations to reveal high-volume entrances and sky terraces. This solar shading strategy is another device which reduces heat transfer across the building's peripheral low-e double-glazed curtain wall, contributing to a low ETTV mentioned above.

 The high-rise greeneries act as thermal buffers and areas for relaxation, social activities and offer opportunities to experience the external environment and enjoy treetop greenery views of the adjacent one-north Park. In conclusion, with 95% of the total landscape area above ground level, and the building's total landscape areas exceeding the site area, Solaris indeed is a visionary leader of high-rise greenery design.

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