Vincent Callebaut Architectures’ inventive and varied concepts for vertical farms, foliage-rich residential towers and reflective cultural buildings are a regular hit with media publications worldwide. The team’s designs are undeniably ambitious and their latest offering does not disappoint.
Flavours Orchard is a residential scheme near the Dianchi Lake in Kunming, China comprising of 45 plus-energy villas in a 90,000 sq m plot. Plans are for the development to encourage a neighbourly attitude through communal facilities such as a community vegetable plot and fenceless gardens, as well as generating enough energy to meet the residents’ demands.
Environmentally-friendly measures posed by the architects include: electric bicycles or driverless electric cars that can be recharged from the photovoltaic roofs on residential properties; recycling organic waste in compost wells to produce natural fertiliser; sending waste water to bio-reactor facades for anaerobic digestion; recycling grey water for agricultural irrigation; and introducing community-led organic agriculture onsite.
The team estimates that the average consumption for one year would be less than 50 kWh/sq m/year at a development where average production can reach 100 kWh/sq m/year. At 1,894m above sea level and with a year-round climate that has earned it the name ‘The City of Eternal Spring’, the site is due to be transformed from industrial wasteland into a buzzing eco-development.
In line with the sustainability aspects of this scheme, Vincent Callebaut Architectures has devised three styles of home for construction in Kunming, dividing the community into three separate districts with their own intrinsic identity. Certain elements remain the same however, such as the integration of solar photovoltaics, LED lighting and A+++ class domestic appliances.
Fifteen units for each of the three styles of home are planned for the development: The Mobius Villa, The Mountain Villa and The Shell Villa.
The Mountain Villa takes the form of an enormous Chinese fan, constructed east to west in light of the sun’s path during the day. At the core of the building is a spiral staircase which provides access to the amenities within, the living rooms and reception spaces angled towards the green landscape. The south façade is glazed while the north façade incorporates more wood in light of the different intensities of sunlight. Solarised photovoltaic glass panels are implemented throughout as are panels filled with algae to produce bio-hydrogen.
The Mobius Villa encircles a pair of open-air patios, one planted, the other aquatic. A ribbon of steel with a secondary wood frame, this design is constructed using a trapezoidal module repeated 24 times with a sloping pedestrian path. Inside the residents can enjoy bedrooms, bathrooms, offices, libraries and games rooms lit naturally through expansive glass windows. Louvered shutters provide shade and pivot automatically in response to the intensity of the sun.
The third and final style of home in the Flavours Orchard development is The Shell Villa. This bold design is separated from the ground by six steel pillars in order to raise the wind turbines atop the residences above the tree line. The style of these homes references the traditional conical Asian hat with their ‘plaited’ forms created by glued laminated timber carpentry. The load of this is taken by a circular deck.