Nature and Architecture – Hand in Hand

Have you ever considered the relationship between nature and sustainable architecture? When you think of sustainable energy, the first thoughts that jump into your head are installing solar panels and using reclaimed wood. While these are wonderful ideas, the relationship between architecture and nature can be unbalanced, with architecture usually being favored over nature.

Sustainable architecture goes beyond repurposing resources. Sustainable architecture can be where both nature and architecture work together, and still look amazing.


Sustainable Architecture at its finest

A contemporary example of this is the “Asian Crossroads Over the Sea” in Fukuoka, Japan. Constructed by sustainable architect Emilio Ambasz in 1994, the ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall is an international, cultural and information exchange center. A portion of the square feet is accessible to the public with the remaining space reserved for revenue producing.

Creation of the building came from two desires. The city developer wanted to create a profitable use of the land while the public needed an open, green space to enjoy. Ambasz, meanwhile, did not want to threaten the development of the Tenjin Central Park and wanted to give back to the community the land the building would use. Thus, Ambasz reached a compromise by continuing the park on top of the building, essentially doubling the park’s size.

Ambasz constructed the side facing Fukuoka’s financial district with a formal business entrance while the opposite side is a series of terraced gardens that climb the height of the building. The terraces connect with upwardly spraying water jets, to create a climbing waterfall that cancels out city’s noise. Today, the terraced gardens contain 120 varieties of plants totaling 50,000 altogether, perfect for any seasonal stroll. The top terrace also provides the perfect point to view the bay of Fukuoka and the mountains.

In 2000, the ARCOS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall proved its sustainable architectural clout by conducting a thermal environment measurement survey. The Takenaka Corporation, Kyushu University and Nippon Institute of Technology jointly carried out the survey and found a difference of 15°C between the surface temperatures of the concrete, coming to the obvious conclusion that the greenery and greening suppresses a rise in the surrounding air temperature.

In other words, The ARCOS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall is just proof that sustainable architecture benefits nature without taking away from it. All it takes is a little consideration.

If you need an architecture firm for your public works project or sustainable architecture design, contact SH Architecture today. We have offices in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City and look forward to making the building of your dreams a reality.


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