vincent callebaut architectures: asian cairns, shenzhen, china
original content
mar 13, 2013
vincent callebaut architectures: asian cairns, shenzhen, china


‘asian cairns’ by vincent callebaut architectures, shenzen, china
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 

 

 

belgian architect vincent callebaut is renown for taking on issues of urbanity and reframing them within an ‘eco-vision.’ his recent project ‘asian cairns’ takes aim at recurring mass rural exodus and unrestrained urbanization by proposing sustainable ‘farmscrapers’ that produce more energy than they consume via food production, wind harnessing and solar power. assuming that density is inversely related to energy consumption, the towers in ‘asian cairns’ use biomorphism and bionics to make an architecture that becomes cultivable in the emerging chinese megalopolis of the pearl river delta. comprised of hong kong and shenzhen, the burgeoning megacity is in a favorable position to house callebaut’s stacked, egg-like design; itself informed by structure of cairns, a residual neolithic practice of piling stones into tall markers. these conical rock piles take on a new life as megalithic modules that form six mixed-use towers serving to pile up housing, offices and leisure spaces.


the towers in the delta context
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 

 

 

the buildings are the acme of three interlaced eco-spirals, implanting biodiversity and density in an expanse of public orchards and urban agriculture fields. grey water from the pod-farms will be harvested in basins and recycled using phyto-depuration, a combination of biological, physical and chemical means wherein pollutants are removed by favoring the most efficient microbial and plant sedimentation, absorption and assimilation processes. the structural framework for each tower is a central vertical boulevard, orthogonal in shape and optimized for composting and circulation. each ‘pebble’ attached to this spine is a microcosm of the eco-city. steel rings delineate space around double decking and are enclosed by a glazed skin encrusted with a field of solar cells and a forest of wind turbines. hanging gardens fill interstitial spaces and welcome a variety of urban farming programs. the architecture posits a solution to the problem of exponential growth and large-scale consumption– that cities can be viable ecosystems with city blocks mimicking forests and buildings emulating the efficiency of trees. 


each tower rises from a series of eco-spirals
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


the orchards and greenery are rampant
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


mimicking the prehistoric form of cairns, the ‘stacked’ pods make space
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


glazing, wind turbines and ample greenery enclose the double-decker pebble
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


habitable stones pile and create program
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


the project strives to be energy producing
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


fall views
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


the vertical boulevard is the backbone of the curved forms
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


the forms accommodate the possibilities for urban agriculture
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


reflections of the towers on each other
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


the pod’s structure and first deck
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


pods with building systems integration
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


pod envelope
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


glazing is bolstered by photovoltaic cells and axial wind turbines
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


site plan
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


plans of the 21 pebbles in the cairn
images courtesy of  vincent callebaut

 


sections of the towers
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


section detail of the ground level garage space
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


section of common areas / swimming pool
images © vincent callebaut architectures

 


section of concert hall
images © vincent callebaut architectures

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