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Green Cities: New concepts for green urban spaces

MVRDV: Valley Project, Amsterdam – © MVRDV
MVRDV: Valley Project, Amsterdam – © MVRDV

In view of current discussions about traffic density and particulate matter, the city as a living space is increasingly coming into focus again. City planners, architects and designers around the world are working on concepts for green urban spaces. They plead for the planting of buildings and demand a new environmental awareness.

Green is the hope – at least, if it is based on current plans for new architectural and urban projects that want to improve the urban life with plants. Against smog and traffic density, they set green urban spaces and sustainable buildings. In the Netherlands, which has often been a pioneer in the field of green building, such a project is currently being planned under the title “Valley”. An office and residential complex designed like three different mountain peaks is designed to increase the vegetation in Amsterdam. The ensemble, designed by the Dutch MVRDV office, is to be up to 100 meters high and contain a central and publicly accessible valley-area on the 4th and 5th levels. The vegetation of this “valley” is designed by the landscape architect Piet Oudolf and should have a year-round green appearance. As a link between the dense urban environment and sports fields nearby, the area forms a vegetated transition. The inner façade is further defined by a series of rugged stone terraces with large planters that cover the building with vegetation.

Triptyque: AMATA Building, São Paulo – © Triptyque
Triptyque: AMATA Building, São Paulo – © Triptyque

A cleaner production chain

The Brazilian metropolis of São Paulo is frequently called the capital of steel and concrete. Soon, however, there will probably be a building here that significantly increases the amount of greenery, at least locally, and sets an example for sustainable building. On the initiative of the Brazilian forest management company AMATA, the building is completely made of wood by the Franco-Brazilian architectural firm Triptyque. Based on a mixed-use concept, the 13 floors will include various modern uses such as coworking or coliving. With lush green terraces, the building should provide a holistic sensory experience and stand as a metaphor for an urban habitable forest. The structure of the AMATA Building will be made of CLT, a high-tech product made of multiple layers of massive wood. Once put together they become panels that can be used as structure for high rising buildings, with the full use of the wood’s structural properties. The renewable building material comes from certified forestry in Brazil and should help to create a cleaner production chain.

Bjarke Ingels Group/Carlo Ratti Associati: CapitaSpring Building, Singapur – © Bjarke Ingels Group
Bjarke Ingels Group/Carlo Ratti Associati: CapitaSpring Building, Singapur – © Bjarke Ingels Group

Contrast between steel, glass and tropical vegetation

Since the beginning of the year, another high-rise building has been under construction that combines urban life with large-scale vegetation. Designed by architects Bjarke Ingels Group and design studio Carlo Ratti Associati, CapitaSpring, the 280-meter-tall Skyscraper in Singapore, is designed to turn a former car park into a green oasis. As a new landmark in the skyline of Singapore, the skyscraper opens in parts for green growth. In the base area, in the middle zone and on the roof, numerous plants create a charming contrast between the steel and glass elements of the façade and tropical vegetation. The construction is to be completed in 2021 and sets another sign for more greening in the cities.

Bjarke Ingels Group/Carlo Ratti Associati: CapitaSpring Building, Singapur – © Bjarke Ingels Group
Bjarke Ingels Group/Carlo Ratti Associati: CapitaSpring Building, Singapur – © Bjarke Ingels Group

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