Bringing nature into building design

10 November 2017

Construction and nature might not automatically go hand in hand, but increasingly developers are moving towards incorporating it into building design.

This is evident in this year’s nominees for the World Architecture Festival (WAF) awards ceremony that celebrates global architects across 68 countries and innovation in design. In fact, the tenth annual WAF takes place in Berlin mid-November.

Buildings on the 2017 shortlist – across 33 categories – feature creative ideas for natural ventilation and light, as well as water-saving and energy-efficient solutions.

Another global trend on the rise is rooftop gardens, springing up in major city centres. Hubs like Hong Kong, Tokyo, Rotterdam and New York are becoming known for urban farming initiatives to boost food resources.

This coincides with dramatic growth in mixed-use developments featuring apartments, hotels, shops, gyms and restaurants as developers look to create green spaces innovatively.

Closer to home, Johannesburg has long been considered the world’s largest man-made urban forest, boasting over 10 million trees.

But could Cape Town be playing catch up? Its city’s skyline is set to change as it sees its first environmentally-friendly mixed-use development come to fruition in 2020. Harbour Arch is being built on the foreshore, by the Amdec Group that developed Johannesburg’s iconic and award-winning Melrose Arch.

The most eye-catching feature of this 5.8-hectare mixed-use precinct will be the complex’s leafy rooftop towering over the city’s harbour. Sustainability and eco-friendly innovation will be a key focus area with green building initiatives including refuse recycling, water-saving devices, rainwater harvesting, a centralized district cooling facility and low-energy LED lighting.

The development will also boost the economy, with the first phase creating up to 2 500 construction jobs alone, 350 jobs will arise from two Marriott branded hotels, retail and lifestyle spaces destined for the site. Upmarket residential apartments and boutique offices space will top its offering.

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