Can skyscrapers be green? Here's a guest blog from Kunal Kirpalani explaining the exciting developments happening in Singapore
In a world where we are increasingly becoming conscious of our impact on the environment, there is plenty of room for innovation. This is especially the case when it comes to reducing our carbon foot print; both on a communal and individual level. Singapore, a city renowned for creative flair in its infrastructural development, is no exception. After all, the Singaporean governments Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development (IMCSD) intends on achieving 80% Green Mark Certification for all buildings in the city by 2030. So with the states well wishes, several buildings, embracing sustainable architecture, have sprung up in the last decade throughout the city; with the aim of reducing Singapores carbon footprint and hence making it greener. The following is a discussion on one of the more cool modern green buildings that are materialising this dream into reality- the Asia Square complex!
Although the second phase of the complexs construction is yet to be completed (a 46 story skyscraper to be opened by 2013), the first phase known as Asia Square 1 (43 story office building), which opened in November last year, has already gotten many accolades for its incorporation of sustainable architecture and other elements of green technology by being multifunctional.
Firstly, it is a multifunctional building, a key element for modern Singaporean buildings, in a country, where space is limited (it is just a tiny island on the tip of the Malay Peninsula), and more buildings being built on virgin rainforest would lead to further environmental destruction. After all, what little is left of what was once the worlds richest biome still needs to be protected; even if Singapore is still one of the worlds greenest cities (and kudos to that!). So by being so multifaceted, Asia Square contributes to preventing further environmental destruction by saving a lot of space by providing so much in 35 000 sq ft; making it spatially the most efficient building in Singapore. What it offers includes 43 floor of office space for Asia 1, with each floor being able to allocate at least 450 executives. Asia Square 2 will have mostly office space yet from the 32nd to 46th floors, it will have a 305 room 5 Star, Westin Hotel. On the complexs initial floors, which integrate both buildings, there will be a shopping centre. But on the 6th floor of Asia Square 1, a gym has opened, covering all of the buildings 32,000 sq ft of floor space. This makes it Asias largest gym!
Furthermore, the complex possesses underground pedestrian tunnels and second storey walk links which connect it with its neighbours in the Marina Bay complex, including One Raffles Quay, and an upcoming residential development at One Shenton Way; among others. This will save so much pedestrian congestion in a relatively crowded central business district. Dont you agree?
Now here comes the more intriguing part. Do you know what truly makes Asia Square such an environmentally awesome complex? Its intricately designed garden space and renewable utilities! Yes, that is right- Asia Square possesses a 100 000 sq ft landscaped plaza named The Cube. The Cube strives to provide relaxation and recreational space for visitors including a 600-seater garden themed FoodGarden and the citys first ever urban oasis. In addition, Asia Square enjoys direct frontage on a public open park called Central Linear Park. Once fully completed, Asia Square will also have a 600-seater garden themed Food Garden.
Finally, I have reserved the coolest aspect of Asia Square for last- its renewable utilities network. The complex has installed a bio-diesel generation plant (a first in central Singapores), which will recycle all waste produced within the building. More, once the complex is completed, it will host on its roof the largest photovoltaic cells (solar panel installation) on any Singaporean roof; making both of its skyscrapers zero-energy buildings. These two green technologies systematically make Asia Square self-sufficient in terms of electricity and waste disposal whist at the same time minimising any of its negative impacts on the environment.
In summary, the multifunctional role Asia Square complex incorporates, juxtaposed by its green-friendly utilities, indicate that is an epitaph of sustainable architecture not just in Singapore, but worldwide; as discussed through this succinct evaluation. On one hand, such a complex will certainly provides the blueprint for IMCSD to achieve 80% Green Mark Certification for all of Singapores buildings by 2030. Regardless, Asia Square complex is a role-model for future buildings, not just in Singapore, but in other metropolises as well. It is especially so in order to save space to hinder further environmental degradation and to use eco-friendly utility alternatives than more mainstream utility ones which would otherwise contribute to sustaining fossil-fuel emissions and other environmentally deteriorating means.
Images: Provided by Denton Corker Marshall.
Denton Corker Marshall as the architect, and MGPA the developer