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How climate change is changing architectural design

20th December 2017 Print

Generally, our population is now living longer, and as climate change threatens the existence of our planet, we’ve come to realise that it is time to carefully consider the future. By 2100, the world’s population could increase to 11.2 billion, and it is estimated that almost all population growth will occur within our cities. In 1930, only 30% of the world’s population lived in cities – compared to around 50% today; by 2050 66.7% of the world’s population will live in cities.    

Architectural design is moving forward to replace older designs with new builds that will help to accommodate our increasingly complex living-needs. Together with Oasys, specialists in building design software, we explore these cutting-edge structures and how they have become a reality:

The First Rotating Skyscraper

Downtown Dubai is set to become the home of the first rotating skyscraper in 2020, designed by Israeli-Italian architect David Fisher.

The structure will constantly change shape as it rotates, and in theory, the apartment block should never look the same twice. Though each apartment will be able to rotate 360 degrees independently, the speed will be adjustable, and the stationary core will contain the elevator with apartments off-shooting this core. 

The first of its kind, the superstructure is leading the way when it comes to environment design. The structure is proposed to power itself, as there will be wind turbines between each floor, negating the need for excessive power supplies from fossil fuels. An apartment will not come cheap, with prices set to be at around US $30 million. This is an exclusive project for those who want to pay the price to be at the forefront of innovation. 

Timber to create taller construction pieces

Timber has become one of the main alternative materials for building structures, with the material set to make frames which are taller and more structurally sound. This is because many are now praising its sustainability and quality, whilst realising how fast a structure can be built.

With its improved strength and stability due to more sophisticated engineering techniques, wooden skyscrapers are becoming a thing of the present – not the future. This is because attitudes towards tis practice is becoming increasingly progressive.

Also known as The Cube Building, Wenlock Cross in Hackney is perhaps the most impressive new structure that is being created with CLT. Standing at 6,750sq metres, the scheme is a hybrid mix of timber and steel. The building seamlessly blends into grass parks that surround the area, but also looks right at home amongst other urbanised buildings that make up London’s metropolitan landscape. As developments progress in the construction and implementation of timber structures, only time will tell how wooden buildings will influence the future of architecture. 

Garden Buildings

Unlike previous building designs in the West, skyscrapers in the East are being designed that utilise the natural greenery that surrounds them. The East intends to build structures that encourage biodiversity, helping tropical spaces thrive within natural environments. 

Nanjing Green Light House

Unique to other light houses, the Nanjing Green Light House that stands in Nanjing, Jiangsu, China, is named in this way because through its round structure and sophisticated façade designs, the building is able to gain 200 LUX natural daylight for all working spaces – making it one of the first zero carbon buildings in mainland China. The inspiration behind this design was China’s vast and natural foliage. 

Oasia Hotel Downtown

This hotel functions as a vertical garden amongst limited green spaces in Singapore. This tropical skyscraper counteracts the Central Business District within the Tanjong Pagar area, and is meant to act as a prototype for how urbans tropics will function within man-made landscapes. 

The tower is made up of a series of sky gardens; each sky verandah is open sided, which provides natural breezes to pass through the building for good cross-ventilation without the need for air-conditioning units. The building is also considered a natural haven for wildlife, with an overall green plot ratio of 1,100% - reintroducing biodiversity into the city that was initially driven away through construction. 

The future of architectural design is now dependent on three key priorities: reducing carbon emissions through construction and functionality, encouraging biodiversity and utilising natural exteriors within the interior of a building. If these priorities are sustained, it’s clear that the future of architecture will not only transform lives, but benefit our natural environments as well.