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Buildings that Showcase the Best of Innovation and Design

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While art and architecture have many similarities, architecture ultimately has a functional and definitive purpose. It is defined as the process of planning, designing, and constructing buildings and other structures. 

The architect considers function, visual expression, spatial effects, culture, human behaviour, and much more. Some say architecture is the union of science and art.

Let's take a look at some buildings, each with their own unique purpose and design.

1. Enviable Green Design – One Central Park, Sydney

One Central Park has become a tourist attraction for people visiting the City of Sydney. This stunning glass building, covered in delightful greenery, was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and botanist Patrick Blanc. 

The project features an eco heliostat (a plane mirror which reflects sunlight), which conserves and produces solar power for the building, the first of its kind in Australia. The heliostat also reflects sunlight down into the park overshadowed by the tower.

The vertical garden acts as a natural sun control device that changes with the seasons, shielding the apartments from direct sun during summer while admitting more sunlight in winter. Climate adaptation and urban greening is a fundamental issue challenging designers of the built form, and One Central Park is certainly an inspiration for future developments.

2. A Showcase of Sustainable Design—1 Bligh Street, Sydney

Built during the Global Financial Crisis, 1 Bligh Street went down in history as Sydney's first 6 Star Green Star high-rise office tower.

Architectus, in association with Ingenhoven Architects, combined remarkable architecture with true sustainability to produce an array of innovative and green features.

A central atrium covers the entire height of the building. Apart from being an absolutely spectacular sight, the use of glass allows for natural ventilation. The atrium provides a constant flow of fresh air, reducing the building’s reliance on cooling systems while the tri-generation energy system combines the use of solar power and gas to run the building. 

The façade is undoubtedly the most innovative feature of the building. 1 Bligh Street  boasts a double-glass façade which not only lets in soft natural light but also minimises the building's energy consumption. It also stops direct sunlight from hitting the internal glass. Between the inner and outer windows, computer-controlled sun shades automatically adjust themselves when needed. Air is also drawn in through natural convection from lower vents, which further cools the façade.

Interesting Facts:

  • 90 per cent of the steel used comprises more than 50 per cent recycled content;

  • The use of green concrete has meant that nearly 6,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide have not been released into the atmosphere;

  • 80 per cent of the parts usually made from PVC have been replaced with non-PVC materials; and,

  • over 90 per cent of the construction waste has been recycled.

3. Enhanced Engineering—119 Great North Road, Auckland

Giltrap Group Holdings presented a brief for a spectacular building to showcase their three premium automative brands.

Warren and Mahoney were contracted to work on this impressive building which required three showrooms at street level, three office floors above, and four levels of car storage and servicing below.

From the outside, the building boasts simplicity. On closer inspection, however, it presents a collection of complex structural components and systems. At the core is a double-storey in situ concrete truss, developed to produce a seamless glazed street frontage. Resisting both gravity and lateral loading, the truss visually connects the building’s nine floors.

In order to provide adequate vertical ramp transitions, a curved ramp was designed to connect each floor.

The project achieved a 5-star Green Star Design rating.

4. Zero Waste for Japan's Kamikatz Public House

The town of Kamikatsu is located in Japan, and it is known for its successful commitment to zero-waste living.

Kamikatz Public House, built by architecture firm Hiroshi Hakamura & NAP, is a little gem largely built from recycled materials. In fact, its façade is made from reclaimed double-pane windows. The community building features a brewery, pub and also sells general food and supplies. 

The firm made an effort to salvage pieces of the town itself to create the building, lining the walls with newspapers, using tiles from other buildings, and creating a custom chandelier from bottles salvaged from the area. This unique eco-conscious twist aims to bring tourists to Kamikatsu.

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