November 23, 2015
by juan
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High tech architecture is becoming eco-friendly


Photo: Foster and Partners

Since Sir Norman Foster designed the HSBC Hong Kong headquarters, and even before, high tech buildings have been revolutionizing the urban landscape, and we can say that this trend is not decreasing at all. At present, there are many projects under development that can still be included in high tech architecture, but there have been some changes since everything started in the seventies.

An example of these changes is the case of Dubai Museum of the Future, that will be entirely printed in 3D. Today the industrialization of architecture is even more revolutionary, efficient and intelligent, and high tech architecture can go to a next step, because we really have the chance to print pieces of the buildings. As a result of this, on one hand the costs are reduced and on the other hand the process turns much easier.

High tech design has always been based on the incredible faith in technology that human beings have. It is really an opportunity in many ways, even though there have been also a lot of critical positions against this architectural style, specially from environmentalists. Is for this reason that in the last decade so many projects have been started using high-tech forms and materials in environmentally intelligent structures. This new trend or style has been called eco tech architecture, a combination of high technology and sustainability.


The Lotus Building, Wujin, China


Photo: John Gollings

A current example of high tech architecture with influence of eco tech is the Lotus Building in China, designed by Studio 505. Located in the heart of Wujin, it has been designed to minimize the use of energy with more than 2,500 geothermal piles impulsed through the artificial lake that surrounds the building. At the same time, the air conditioning systems are regulated by the lake’s water, in winter and also in summer. This high tech building has also another eco friendly detail: it has a natural ventilation, as the evaporation of the lake is sent to the interior of the building through a chimney.


Photo: John Gollings

Flavours Orchard, Kunning, China


Image by Vincent Callebaut Architecture

The case of these spectacular buildings, designed by Vicent Callebaut Architects, are a great example of the way that high tech designs are more and more eco-responsive. Flavours Orchard are 45 villas that, as their sculptural shape inspire, are planted in a community orchard. The building, in the Chinese city of Kunning, known as the “city of the eternal spring”, connects two great lakes of the city through the Daguan river: the Emerald and the Dianchi Lake.

This kind of projects opens a door for a more fluid dialogue between architecture and nature, where the boundaries from one to the other are starting to be reduced.


Image by Vincent Callebaut Architecture

The aim of this construction is to produce more energy than the consumed, and to create spaces of biodiversity in urban spaces.

Vincent Callebaut has also one more vision and leitmotiv with his projects, which is connecting urban and countryside life. Other projects of this architect are, for example, “Citta della Scienza” in Rome, the Gate Residence in Egypt or the bioclimatic groundscraper “Red Moon”, in Morocco, to mention some of them.

Anyway, high tech architecture will have new challenges for next year and the next decade. High tech architects and designers will have to adapt to a very special moment in History, as technology is improving every day and at the same time people are more concerned about environment. The difficult and necessary challenge is to take advantage of progress without loosing the contact with nature and the care that it deserves.


Images: Vincent Callebaut ArchitectureJohn Gollings,Foster and Partners

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