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Living in an Urban Cactus
Sarah Rich, 29 Nov 06
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A Dutch architecture firm called ucx recently presented a new concept for a high-rise apartment building on the waterfront in Rotterdam. The biomorphic tower resembles a tall cactus, with nineteen vertical stories set in a rotating pattern such that all ninety-eight residential units get their fair share of sunlight. The floors extend well beyond the interior spaces, providing ample terraces, which as the rendering shows, lend themselves to plenty of greenery right outside the door.

As Inhabitat points out, it's hard to tell whether the design has fully embraced the potential ecological benefits of succulent gardens running down all sides of the building -- such as rainwater collection and on-site irrigation sources -- but if the architects haven't taken that leap, at least it's a natural one for individual occupants to gravitate towards.

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Comments

Their goal was to create plenty of room for plants and by doing so they intent to create the feeling that the building belongs more to the green area outside the city than to the urban architecture that lies behind the building. (parts of Rotterdam look like a architecture showroom with to much in to little space).
The green outside and large overhangs may be pleasant in the summer to avoid too much direct sunlight overheating the apartments, but it's not likely that there would be -for example- a rainwatercircuit to water all the green on dry days.
Low energy houses or passive houses are still not common overhere, I think our neighbors Belgium and Germany are way ahead of us when it comes to green architecture.


Posted by: Max on 30 Nov 06

It looks beautiful, but as usual, the building appears to be fall into the tired Modernist ideal of separation from the street. If there's one thing urban planners and city dwellers have learned over the past 50 years, it's that planting a skyscraper in a park rather than meeting the street with an active facade is death to a neighborhood.

A cool design like this is great, just use the Vancouver model: build a 3-story building that comes right up to the sidewalk with windows, porches, and retail, then put the skyscraper on top of it. Undifferentiated open space around a building invites crime, disuse, and disinvestment.


Posted by: Tim Halbur on 30 Nov 06

I believe the Institute Without Boundaries is the
Bauhaus of the 21 century...on a global basis and
involving far more than that genesis.


Posted by: dave peters on 15 Dec 06



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