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Competition: Changzhou sustainable offices, China

An open international design contest has been launched for a series of highly sustainable 800㎡ office buildings in Changzhou city, Jiangsu Province, China (Deadline: 8 January)

The competition, organised by the China Building Materials Academy, seeks innovative proposals for workplace buildings that harness new green building materials and energy-saving technical products

The project aims to identify new design and construction strategies that could help China in its ambition to cap carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, and to generate 20 per cent of energy from non-fossil fuel sources. The winning schemes will be constructed in the National Green Building Demonstration Park on the south-west fringes of the historic city (pictured).

Changzhou, China

Changzhou, China

Source: Image by Jakub Hałun

Changzhou, China

According to the brief: ‘The goal of the competition is to achieve near-zero energy consumption and ultra-low emissions of building. It is guided by the principle of “economy, applicability and beauty”. It also integrates achievements of both international academic institutions and design firms, which correspond to the contemporary lifestyle and aesthetic consciousness in the process of building China’s new urbanisation.

‘In this competition, we envisage using preselected renewable energy, new energy, new materials, new technologies as the design and creation media, just like providing painting materials for the way to artistically create a green building in accordance with the climatic characteristics of the climate zone. Unlike the previous technology stacking design, we expect the results of the competition to meet the requirements of passive priority, active support, cost-effective control and can be applicable in a given climate zone.’

Changzhou is a historic city of around 4.5 million inhabitants located on the southern bank of the Yangtze River near China’s eastern coast.

The competition focuses on the National Green Building Demonstration Park which is a greenfield site near the historic ruins of the Yancheng walled city.

Proposals should feature an office complex or corporate regional marketing headquarters harnessing renewable technologies to deliver either low or zero energy consumption. Schemes must consider future retrofit options and consider local planning restrictions.

National Green Building Demonstration Park

National Green Building Demonstration Park

National Green Building Demonstration Park

Applications will be evaluated on their feasibility, response to local context, integration of passive renewable energy technologies, water management, use of BIM and parameterisation, aesthetic quality and understanding of China’s traditional architecture.

Submissions must include a masterplan, site plan, floor plans, elevations, sections, and a written description covering the general design, energy saving strategy and reasons for material choices.

Judges include Stefan Behnisch of German practice Behnisch Architekten, Massimiliano Fuksas of Rome-based Studio Fuksas, Italy’s Mario Cucinella of Mario Cucinella Architects, and Yao Yan, president of China Building Materials Academy.

The overall winner will receive an $80,000 prize while two silver prizes of $50,000 each and three bronze prizes of $30,000 each will also be awarded along with 50 ‘excellence awards’ worth $20,000 each.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 8 January

Contact details

Wei Pan
China Building Materials Academy

Tel: 0086-571-85062158
Email: weiparc@qq.com
Fax: 0086-571-85062158 

Visit the competition website for more information

UEA Enterprise Centre case study: Q&A with James Todd

The associate director at Architype discusses lessons learned designing a new environmentally-friendly business hub in Norwich, England

How did your project deliver a sustainable complex for new start-up businesses at the University of East Anglia?

The Enterprise Centre aims to encourage new sustainable start-up businesses and networking, providing a multi-functioning space, 300-seat lecture theatre, seminar rooms, innovation labs, open plan offices and hatchery spaces for research and development. The ground-breaking building is an exemplar of low embodied energy and low carbon construction technologies and materiality, providing world-class facilities and physically demonstrating sustainability by design. The project achieves Passivhaus certification, BREEAM Outstanding, and a 100-year performance life cycle. During our post-occupancy monitoring, the university has reported that the building consumes half the energy of equivalent buildings on campus and lives up to its challenging design performance targets.

UEA Enterprise Centre by Architype

UEA Enterprise Centre by Architype

Source: Image by BDP/Nick Caville

UEA Enterprise Centre by Architype

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

A key aspiration was for the centre to be an exemplar of natural, low-carbon and locally sourced materials, involving the up-skilling of local suppliers. Our approach introduces a contemporary design aesthetic that is also genuinely local, reflecting the surrounding vernacular and embedding the building in its regional context, most notably in the dramatic expanse of prefabricated thatch cladding, grown in Norfolk and applied by local thatchers. Where possible, materials were sourced, tested and fabricated within a 30-mile radius, and the balance procured from elsewhere in the UK, for example, the majority of the timber for the structural frame was sourced from nearby Thetford Forest.

Sourcing materials for the UEA Enterprise Centre by Architype

Sourcing materials for the UEA Enterprise Centre by Architype

Source: Image by Henrietta Williams

Sourcing materials for the UEA Enterprise Centre by Architype

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a sustainable office building for Changzhou?

This is a great opportunity to embrace China’s growing interest in sustainability and demonstrate what can be achieved. As a practice, we advocate an eco-minimal approach – getting the basics right through a rigorous analysis of form, orientation and fabric while avoiding unnecessary complexity. A truly sustainable response has to be guided by a holistic understanding of construction and operational impacts throughout the building lifecycle alongside wellbeing and health. This means quantifying impacts, but also thinking about the story that materials have to tell and how at their end of life they can have a continuing value as part of the circular economy.

UEA Enterprise Centre by Architype

UEA Enterprise Centre by Architype

Source: Image by BDP/Nick Caville

UEA Enterprise Centre by Architype

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