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sustainable architecture
design strategies + innovative technologies that promote a sustainable built environment
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Crystal clear: the case for green building

Crystal clear: the case for green building | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Part office, part exhibition space, a new London landmark aims to challenge our assumptions about green design.


A new building in east London’s Royal Victoria Docks aims to change public perceptions of green architecture – while trialling some new sustainable technologies and approaches at scale. There’s not a green roof or thick insulated wall in sight. In fact, the structure, which is called the Crystal, is everything we’ve come to believe a sustainable building shouldn’t be: lightweight, angular, glazed from top to bottom and with a roof made out of steel.

Part office space, part interactive exhibition about the future of cities, the building is intended as a living experiment in sustainability that business leaders, politicians and the general public alike can learn from. “The building is a great demonstration of the ‘art of the possible’”, says Martin Hunt, Head of Networks and Partnerships at Forum for the Future. “It’s refreshing to see an interactive exhibition that visualises what our cities could be like – based on high quality research and thoughtful benchmarking. It brings the big issues of urban living – such as water and energy consumption, public health and safety – to life in a way that engages people and inspires them.”

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Duane Craig's curator insight, January 7, 2013 7:13 AM

It's quite enlightening, as pointed out here, that a lot of glass used correctly can actually yield a zero energy building. But I agree that assessing the true sustainability of the building would have to factor in all the embodied fossil fuel and other energy used to make its components. And when you're talking about glass, that could be huge.

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In London, A Big Win For Green Building

In London, A Big Win For Green Building | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it
In the London borough of Newham, where much of the Olympic Park is located, one of the greenest buildings in the world is on the rise at the Royal Docks.

The Crystal, as its known, was developed by Siemens — that global powerhouse in renewable energy tech, among other things — for the center of London’s new Green Enterprise District.

Conceived of as an ‘intelligent all electric’ building, it will serve as a showcase for innovative tech- from solar arrays (which cover the roof of the building) to heat pumps tied to geothermal wells (buried beneath the building site). The Crystal was designed to take top marks in both LEED and BREEAM certifications; no fossil fuels will be used to power the building.

The Crystal — developed by Siemens at a cost of £30 million – was designed to serve as a focal point for London’s new Green Enterprise District, which the city’s mayor, Boris Johnson, envisions as “a vibrant, international hub incubating dozens of low carbon businesses.” The District is expected to generate up to 6,000 new jobs and develop “new low carbon skills.”

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The Crystal: London's new sustainable development hub & one of Britain's greenest buildings

The Crystal: London's new sustainable development hub & one of Britain's greenest buildings | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Electronics giant Siemens recently unveiled the Crystal, a £30m project in east London that aims to promote sustainable urban development in the capital.
The structure, which stands on the waterfront at the Royal Victoria Docks, covers more than 6,300 square metres and takes its place as one of Britain’s greenest buildings, having been built to achieve top scores in both the BREEAM and LEED rankings for energy efficient complexes.
Inside is Siemens’ Centre of Competence Cities, a team made up of urban sustainability experts, as well as an exhibition on the future of cities across the world.
The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was there to officially launch the building, and said, “The futuristic Crystal is a fantastic new landmark for London which has breathed new life into the historic Royal Docks.” and noted that “Siemens’ investment is a great boost to our ambitious plans to redevelop swathes of former industrial land in order to bring jobs to the capital.”

The hub of this summer’s Olympic Games, the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, is only five miles down the road from the Crystal, and the London mayor made reference to the successful games, saying that the new development is another step forward in east London’s “rebirth”...

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