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Home arrow Engineering arrow Sustainable High Rise Buildings in Urban Zones: Advantages, Challenges, and Global Case Studies


Possible Future Solutions

The Netherlands, as a densely populated country, combined with high standards of living had always to (and knows how to) mold the natural environment to suit its needs (MVDRV 2015) . Time and time again more land was won from the sea. Perhaps in the near future extra space will be found not just by increasing the country’s width but by expanding vertically. Architectural office MVRDR raised questions of global significance when designing their plan for the 2000 Hannover World expo fair: Can increasing population densities coexist with an increase in the quality of life? What conditions should be satisfied before such increases in density take place? What role will nature, in the widest sense, play in such an increase in density?

Dutch pavilion World Expo Hannover

Fig. 2.9 Dutch pavilion World Expo Hannover

Is not the issue here “new nature,” literally and metaphorically? The Netherlands’ specific contribution to the ecological spectrum of the World Fair in Hannover 2000 showed was precisely a mix of technology and nature, emphasizing nature’s make- ability and artificiality. Demonstrating that technology and nature need not be mutually exclusive, they can perfectly well reinforce one another. Nature arranged on many levels provided both an extension to existing nature and an outstanding symbol of its artificiality. It provides multilevel public space as an extension to existing public spaces (MVDRV 2015). It not only saves space, it also saves energy, time, water, and infrastructure. A mini-ecosystem was created as a kind of future survival kit. “Holland creates Space” : the theme for the Netherlands Pavilion at the 2000 World Expo in Hanover was to showcase a country making the most out of limited space. Six stacked Dutch landscapes form an independent ecosystem communicating cultural sustainability: progressive thinking and contemporary culture were combined with traditional values. The architecture suggests Dutch open-mindedness, while confirming the positive stereotypes of windmills and dykes. Of course, it also tests existing qualities: it attempts to find a solution for a lack of light and land. At the same time, the density and the diversity of functions builds new connections and new relationships. It can therefore serve as a symbol for the multifaceted nature of future sustainable high-rise buildings (MVDRV 2015). The Dutch pavilion at the Hanover World Expo 2000 (Fig. 2.9) demonstrated trends in sustainable high-rise building on land use by multilevel function, integration of renewable energy, preserving greenery, and reducing environmental impact within a natural setting (Rovers 2008).

Triple bottom line approach for rooftop farming, presented by Zoellner (Zoellner 2013)

Fig. 2.10 Triple bottom line approach for rooftop farming, presented by Zoellner (Zoellner 2013)

By working with nature cities can become more resilient to the changing climate, while reducing greenhouse gases through natural carbon “sinks.” Embracing green roofs and facades helps to negate humans’ impact on the environment, and to achieve livable, sustainable built spaces (Yong 2014). Arup’s Cities Alive (Armour et al. 2014) — supported by the Landscape Institute and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew—describes the power of nature and the natural environment which could be used to offset a lot of effects. This to raise awareness of what the natural environment does, because it is often taken for granted (Yong 2014). Increasingly sophisticated technology will allow roofs, walls, and building facades to be “greened,” creating a filter for pollution, absorb carbon dioxide by acting as a carbon “sink,” as well as providing natural cooling and insulation to enhance air quality for city dwellers. Furthermore, green roofs retain a high amount of rainwater, so are perfect for harvesting, thus reducing the amount of water reaching urban sewage systems. Cities in the future will look vastly different to cities now (Arup 2015) with their green roofs, water roofs, vertical farming and even high-rise greening with trees like the Bosco-verticale by Stefan Boeri in Milan (Smith 2015). Brought about by concerns (over rapidly depleting natural resources, climate change and population growth, lack of physical space, transport networks with its intimate ties to oil prices and global food trade) food production systems, like vertical farming, could become integral elements in urban environments (Armour et al. 2014 ) . Vertical farming techniques and urban agricultural systems, such as hydroponics, can potentially be utilized to help address the local food production as well as contribute to the environmental conditions within the cities. As a result of the economic, environmental, and social developments, Urban Agriculture will become part of the urban culture in the twenty-first century, see Fig. 2.10 (Zoellner 2013).

In Rotterdam, an architecture collective has reclaimed an old building in the center of the city and started using the roof to build an urban farm on top of it. As part of the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, this first rooftop farm of the city on top of the Schieblock building was built as a Test Site. The garden houses vegetables and herbs (and some bees, too!), the urban rooftop farm,

Dakakker—Rotterdam (de Boer 2012)

Fig. 2.11 Dakakker—Rotterdam (de Boer 2012)

called Dakakker, is an initiative of architecture firm ZUS and has sold its first veggies and herbs to local restaurants and shops. Also in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the Zuidpark rooftop farm has opened its doors last year. Located along the city’s ring road, Zuidpark focuses (more than other urban farms) on activities, workshops, and education, as well as on organizing special dinners with a view (Fig. 2.11) (de Boer 2012).

Europe’s biggest commercial urban farm will soon be located in The Hague, Netherlands. A 1200 sqm greenhouse is to be placed on the roof of the De Schilde. Two of the building’s top storeys, each measuring 1500 m2, will be used for urban farming by city farming pioneer UrbanFarmers (UF) AG, a Swiss company. An indoor fish farm and boutique brewery are also included in the redevelopment plans (EuroFresh 2015).

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