June 17, 2010

Danube Passage – Hungary’s First Sustainable Neighbourhood

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PHA Consult have led the sustainability strategy for Budapest’s first sustainable, environmentally-friendly neighbourhood is being built according to the first ever Hungarian designs of world-leading architectural studio Foster + Partners. The project will be devloped by WING Zrt, one of the largest privately-owned real estate firms in Hungary.

Danube Passage is a city center project located on one of the last remaining undeveloped Danube-bank sites in Budapest, combining modern and environmentally-friendly offices, sunny apartments with panoramic views, restaurants, cafés, and a shopping and cultural centre, all in one place. All of this is complemented by the abundance of green space, public parks and a whole range of riverside leisure opportunities.

In terms of its development, the part of Budapest District IX located to the south of Lágymányosi Bridge on the Pest side of the city has, until now, been in a deep slumber. However this area, which at almost 15 hectares is currently Budapest’s largest riverside site still to be rehabilitated, is about to be reborn in a world-class, sustainable development by WING, one of the largest and most stable property concerns in Hungary.

Upon completion of the investment a unique part of the city’s environmental heritage, the Danube riverfront, will gain a new feature on a section of the riverbank that was hitherto inaccessible. The southern silhouette of the capital will be redrawn by the residential towers being built at the tip of the peninsula, which will be Budapest’s tallest new-build apartment buildings. The unique attraction of this new neighbourhood is that it is bordered by the river on two sides, as it will be constructed on the peninsula formed between the Danube itself and the Ráckeve Danube tributary, affording local residents and visitors convenient access to the riverbank, unimpeded and without the need to cross busy lanes of traffic or railway lines.

Throughout the development, priority is being given to environmental protection. The concept is built around sustainable planning and the use of green technologies. As a result of the solutions employed, Danube Passage is easy on the environment, and the offices and apartments of Danube Passage offer a healthier and more efficient setting in which to live and work. Meanwhile, the energy consumption of the buildings, and the related costs, will also be substantially lower.

The energy consumption of Danube Passage could be as much as 40-50% lower than is normal for projects of this kind.

The following environmentally-sound technologies will be used for the first time on the scale of an entire neighbourhood:

  • Green roofs
  • To improve air quality and the efficiency of cooling, the roofs of buildings in the new neighbourhood will be covered in green vegetation, instead of more conventional roof-covering techniques.
  • Use of ground water
  • The use of ground water for cooling, irrigation and the flushing of lavatories (grey water usage) is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Another environmentally-friendly solution only employed here is the use of water from the Danube for cooling the buildings.
  • Solar collectors
  • Much of the hot water is supplied from solar collectors located on roofs. In the case of an entire neighbourhood, these add up to a very substantial overall energy saving.
  • Optimal orientation of the buildings
  • The form and façade of the buildings is optimised by taking into account the path of the sun and the local climate. The special design can lead to considerable reductions in the cost of cooling, heating and lighting the buildings.
  • Environmentally friendly materials usage
  • Sustainable and recyclable materials will be used in the course of the construction work.
  • Construction of bicycle storage facilities and a cycle path
  • To encourage cycling, a section of the regional cycle-path network, and (in the underground car park) a bicycle storage facility and adjoining changing rooms, will be constructed.

Text: Foster + partners/WING Zrt

Environmental Strategy

Image © PHA Consult

December 5, 2009

Biometropolis Mexico – Health City Sustainable Masterplan

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Foster + Partners, working with PHA Consult, have designed a major new health city masterplan in Mexico.

Foster + Partners Press Release:

“Campus Biometropolis will be a centre of medical excellence, integrating care facilities alongside state-of-the-art teaching spaces, research institutions and laboratories. The creation of a vital new nature reserve to preserve Mexico City’s indigenous plants and animal species is fundamental to the aims of this low-carbon, mixed-use development.

Foster & Partners/Nigel Young
This wilderness area, together with enhanced landscaped zones, will account for half of the site, providing a landscaped setting for the buildings and safeguarding the future of the land through sensitive development. The campus will include offices, apartments, shops and amenities to create a sustainable, mixed-use community. The arrangement of buildings navigates a course around the Pedregal lava fields, a network of subterranean lava tube formations and caves, sections of which will be exposed to encourage scientific investigation.

The site is close to Mexico City’s southern medical cluster and the National University. The scheme integrates hotel facilities for visitors to the hospital and conference centre, facilities for bio-tech industries, clinical studies and a number of specialist units, planned to target six key areas of medicine: cancer, cardiovascular, infectious diseases, pharmaceuticals, nutrition and geriatrics.

Narinder Sagoo/Foster & Partners

Responding to the urban grain of Mexico City, the masterplan integrates public piazzas, pedestrian streets and cooling courtyards. The buildings will be oriented to capture cooling winds from the north. Given Mexico City’s water shortages, the campus is designed to maintain and augmenting the proportion of green space through which water can be absorbed naturally into the aquifer below. Rainwater will also be harvested from roofs, roads and available open space.

Narinder Sagoo/Foster & Partners

The transportation strategy is designed to encourage the use of public transport. Solar-powered electric vehicles will move people around the campus, walking distances are short and a bus connection to the nearby university station will fully utilise the available capacity on a quieter section of the metro line. While parking spaces will be incorporated, they will be located below a raised podium level to create a pedestrian environment and maximise the available space for the nature reserve at ground level.”

PHA Consult were responsible for developing the sustainability and environmental design strategies for the masterplan. Computational environmental analysis was used to develop passive design responses to building form and orientation, energy and resource modelling and international benchmarking all contributed to the development of an holistic approach to sustainability for the project.

“Campus Biometropolis will be sustainably designed and built, and will be composed of hospitals, laboratories and medical universities, as well as residential and retail areas. In addition, the complex will include a natural reserve and will become a model for green buildings and water conservation. This project is in accordance with Mayor Ebrard’s plan to transform the city into one of the most environmentally-conscience and sustainable cities in the world.

The medical hub is at the core of Mayor Ebrard’s General Development Plan, which was designed to convert Mexico City into Latin America’s premier knowledge economy. The five-year plan, launched in 2007, aims to create more equity for Mexico City’s inhabitants by building a sustainable and inclusive city, promoting equality through better health, education and technology and improving the competitiveness of the Mexican capital.”

August 28, 2009

Incheon Free Economic Zone Masterplan – Competition Win

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — egarrod @ 4:59 pm

Foster + Partners, together with PHA Consullt and Mobility in Chain, has won an international competition to design the masterplan for the expansion of the Incheon Free Economic Zone, an extensive mixed-use scheme encompassing the islands of KangHwa and OnJin-gun, to the north west of Seoul. Conceived as a self-sufficient, sustainable development, the 300 square-kilometre masterplan will extend organically from a central transportation spine, creating a centre for green industry and serving a population that is expected to grow from 35,000 to 320,000 residents and commuters.

The scheme integrates a range of low to high-density mixed-use areas, connected by a Light Rapid Transit system and construction will be phased over 10 to 15 years. The area spans three main sites within the free trade zone – the north of KangHwa will be a centre of inter-Korean economic cooperation, taking advantage of its strategic location close to Incheon airport and North Korea, while the south of the island will be mixed-use, combining green technology industry with community, cultural and residential buildings.

It is envisaged that Incheon will become a national centre for sustainable industry: manufacturing photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, and developing new products and technology within a new research and development institute in the south of KangHwa. State-of-the-art measures employed within the masterplan include biomass energy generation, the use of hydrogen fuel cells and hydroponic roofs. OnJin-gun island will be transformed as a sustainable resort and the wider IFEZ masterplan will eventually connect South to North Korea and the airport via the world’s longest bridge.

Taking agriculture as a central theme, the design utilises existing elements such as irrigation channels, green spaces and roads, while the arrangement of buildings within the masterplan follows the natural topology of the site, incorporating green roofs to further harmonise with the landscape. Like the veins of a leaf, the smaller roads and pedestrian avenues extend from the central transportation spine. The existing island is predominately agricultural so terraced farming, utilising the roofs of the industrial buildings, will replace any agriculture displaced by the development. There will be no structure above 50 metres, so the scheme will not extend into the foothills or mountain, thus preserving the rural landscape.

Credit: Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners Press Release here

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