In the latest episode of our summer edition of the Best of Livegreenblog series, we take a look at the world of work. More and more companies are making sustainability a key point of their corporate policy, a decision that from China to Italy, from Belgium to the United States, translates into more conscious architecture, as we can see in this review.
We begin with an award-winning project, the conversion of the Gare Maritime in Brussels, Belgium, by Dutch firm Neutelings Riedijk Architects, in collaboration with Bureau Bouwtechniek. What was once Europe's largest freight yard has now become Europe's largest CLT laminated timber building. It is a "covered city" with a mixed programme of work and shopping, enhanced by many public spaces in which to relax. In short, the recovery of the large infrastructure, with its imposing steel roofs and built according to the dictates of the circular economy, has created a healthy, bright and stimulating working environment, but also new spaces shared with the citizens of the Belgian capital.
Atelier DYML's project for YUE City in Guangzhou, China, also starts with an existing building. A shopping centre built more than 15 years ago on the site of an old cement production plant has been transformed so that it can now cooperate in revisiting and enhancing the urban context in which it fits. The METAMORPHOSIS project is thus an input for the rebirth and revitalisation of the neighbourhood in which it is located. The old, anonymous buildings have been transformed into a series of entertaining and meaningful spaces, becoming a meeting point for the community, thus much more than an attractive commercial destination.
The other two projects in this review are new buildings.
In Savignano sul Rubicone, architect Stefano Bindi
has built the new headquarters of Ortofrutta Caligari & Babbi
. It is an architecture of significant visual impact that minimises environmental footprint, offering a beautiful and healthy working environment. With the orientation of the volume and its careful design of flows, with its solar panels and windows for natural lighting, the building produces almost more energy than it consumes. The landscape design also took climate change into account, presenting the possibility of absorbing any heavy rainfall to collect rainwater for use in times of drought. This is how Bindi's work has become a landmark and a beacon of sustainability in the field of industrial architecture in Italy.
The Outpost complex by Skylab architects in Hood River, Oregon, USA, is part of the first phase of urban redevelopment of the town's waterfront. It consists of two wooden buildings with a total surface area of almost 2500 square metres, which function as a single large structure. Inside there is a mix of functions, from maker spaces to shops, offices, and restaurants. It is a sustainably built place with warm and welcoming areas, a new hub for the local community.
In general, we are happy to see how much sustainability is found in commercial and industrial architecture because if we want to protect our planet, everyone must do their part.