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The Urban Jungle: How architects are helping city dwellers get back to nature

by Marquette Turner

in Design & Trends, Eco-Living, Luxury is..., Real Estate Radar

Outdoor spaces can be more than just a balcony or a city park. Architects are increasingly enabling those living in the city to also appreciate some of nature’s joys, thus enjoying the best of both worlds.

At present approximately 50% of the world’s population live in cities, and this figure is expected to rise to 75% this century alone. Thus, the more dense cities become, the more necessary quality outdoor “living and breathing space” will become.

Here, Marquette Turner look at some of the world’s most innovative designs, some on the drawing board, some under construction, and others living and breathing.

The Haven, Nasouri FIJI

Taking inspiration from the Fijian tradition of incorporating natural materials, the architects – the US firm SPF – have proposed constructing a building utilizing skins of pumice. This will enable moss and other plants to grow, whilst also enabling ventilation and the diffusion of light. By allowing the vegetation to hang from the rooftop a natural water drainage function will combine with a simple but stunning sunlight filter, great shade from the balmy tropical sun.

Newton Suites, SINGAPORE

The award winning design by WOHA merges the functional apartments with the surrounding nature reserve. WOHA created living spaces that are both inviting and visually attractive, with the sky gardens using natural foliage.

909 Walnut Street, Missouri USA

This refurbished building is now the tallest in Missouri, with it’s feature being a rooftop garden atop the new eight storey car park. Given the lack of recreational and community space available to city dwellers, the design sought to provide a quiet, serene green space with distinct areas.

Frasers Broadway, Sydney AUSTRALIA

As part of a major plan for sustainable redevelopment, scheduled to be completed in 2030, “Frasers Broadway” involves a wide array of local and international architects, including Foster + Partners, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Jeppe Andersen, Tzannes Associates, Tonkin Zulaikha Greer and Turf Design. Redeveloping the Old Kent Brewery site on Broadway is 36,000 square metres of accessible space, is aiming to be the first 6 star energy project in Australia and will feature the largest urban development in the country to utilise on-site tri-generation (commonly referred to as “green transformers”) to enable the functions of providing power, heating and cooling. The website gives a great insight into the project.

Omnilifes Lifereef, Guadalajara MEXICO

Designed by Jean-Marie Massaud the project provides a fertile, vibrant space for an all-encompassing lifestyle. It allows high rises to be a haven, rising like a tree from the ground rather than the typical enclosed, often claustrophobic apartment structures.

Simon Turner

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