The world’s most sustainable and connected office
Deloitte’s new Amsterdam head office, the Edge, shows how smart building design can provide flexibility and comfort for its occupants while also reducing energy demands.
Producing more energy than it consumes, the Edge is widely regarded as the most sustainable office building in the world. The multi-storey, north-facing glass atrium admits lots of daylight while concrete walls on the south facade absorb heat from sunlight, and solar panels convert that sunlight into energy. A single network controls every technical system in the building, including a network of tens of thousands of sensors placed around the building. The lift, the lighting and cooling systems, coffee machines and towel dispensers, even the robot security guard which cruises around the building at night, can all be controlled and adjusted centrally.
Combined with a hot desk approach to working, the technological flexibility of the building means that its 1,100 workspaces can serve more than 2,500 staff.
Smarter Healthcare Infrastructure
When completed later in 2017, the New Karolinska Solna (NKS) University Hospital in Stockholm will have over 12,000 rooms, 35 operating theatres and 17 MRI scanning units. It is considered to be the world’s largest public-private partnership project.
The NKS contract required the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM), which provided a single system for designers, contractors and facilities managers to collaborate on. All information relating to the hospital’s design, construction and inventory is stored digitally. Ultimately, BIM data will enable the hospital facilities to be managed comprehensively and serve as a map for 29 automated, guided vehicles which will deliver medical supplies, laundry and other items around the site.
NKS will also be climate-neutral, thanks to its energy-efficient insulation, a geothermal energy plant and the use of food waste for biogas.
How to build social amenities faster and more affordably
Creating low-cost housing and social infrastructure is a challenge across the globe. A project to create much-needed courthouses in Tanzania may have shown a way ahead.
The Moladi construction system replaces the cumbersome bricklaying process with an approach akin to injection moulding. Workers erect the building’s frame with reusable plastic panels, leaving wall cavities which – once the windows, doors, wiring and pipework have been put in – are filled with a fast-setting, aerated mortar.
The building process can be monitored by just one qualified supervisor who manages local workmen with no prior construction experience or skills.
The first project, Kibaha District Courthouse, was built for $250 per square metre, which is half the cost of conventional methods. It took six months to complete when it might typically have taken up to three years using traditional methods. On the back of this success, the Tanzanian government has committed to building another 11 district courthouses using this method.
The vertical city
By 2050, two-thirds of the global population will live in cities. In many urban centres, there will be a shortage of space on the ground, and expanding outwards won’t be an option. Instead, cities will need to build upwards to accommodate their workforces and residents.
The idea behind the design of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai – now a popular tourist attraction – was to create a mixed-use modern skyscraper with hotel accommodation, residential apartments and commercial premises. Not so much a building as a vertical city.
The report credits the realization of this vision to securing the backing of the authorities, including the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum; close collaboration among all contributors; using pre-fabrication to speed construction; and pioneering the use of innovative technologies such as self-climbing cranes.
The Burj Khalifa is now the third most popular “selfie” attraction in the world, after the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Disney World in Florida.
The 3D-printed bridge
It is hoped that a printed steel pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam will show that additive manufacturing techniques, or 3D printing, can work outside the lab in the real world.
The bridge aims to showcase the technology’s viability and potential to the construction industry, while also contributing to developing a strong supply chain and customer interest in 3D printing projects of this scale.
In addition to speed and time of construction, 3D-printing technology offers environmental benefits, too. Being managed digitally from the design to the production phase, it generates no waste and there’s little need for rework. Materials savings through optimized shapes also mean that 3D printing is a highly eco-friendly technology.
The bridge is scheduled to be printed by the end of 2017 and installed at the beginning of 2018.
Your printed house
In China, meanwhile, Winsun is pioneering large-scale 3D printing. In 2014 it succeeded in printing its first house, and then created a printed housing estate. Since then, it has also delivered the first 3D-printed office building, in Dubai.
Compared with traditional on-site construction, the Winsun process saved about 80% on construction costs and 60% on both labour and waste.