Presenting at the 2011 Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) World Conference in Seoul today, Ross Donaldson, Joint Group Managing Director (JGMD) at Woods Bagot, encouraged delegates to be futurists - embracing design trends of tomorrow, as the vertical city becomes entrenched in our urban landscapes.
"In 2010, we witnessed the completion of more skyscrapers than in any previous years, tall towers and vertical cities are here to stay and it is the design nous, particularly in terms of addressing environmentally sustainability initiatives (ESD) that will drive the success of this typology into the future," said Ross.
So why tall? The issue of urban sprawl is dominating cities across the globe with tall towers seeking to combat this epidemic through reducing human impact on the environment, with design instrumental in the realisation of this.
"It is only in recent years that the tall tower is being acknowledged and accepted by our communities as a viable building within the fabric of our cities across the globe. With designers compelled to be futurists, as an industry we have pushed the boundaries to enable 'tall' to be a sustainable and viable building type for tomorrow," he continued.
Yet, for some time Ross is of the opinion that the role designers have been able to play in driving sustainability initiatives has been somewhat limited.
"In the construction and design industries, designers can feel threatened with having no accessible tools enabling them to seize and drive the initiative - yet there are many who would feel more, if they were empowered to be complete futurists, elevated to a greater level of effectiveness," Ross added.
Enter Zero Emissions Design (ZERO-E). In response to this status of stagnancy, and to develop a tool that would look to enable architects to be relatively autonomous, Woods Bagot and Buro Happold devised a new model - a tool, an interactive deign platform that tracks energy and carbon footprints for design solutions.
"Together in partnership, Woods Bagot and Buro Happold since 2009, have invested in research and development of a Zero Emissions Design platform with a customised software operational interface, enabling designers to understand the energy impact of their design in real time - as they design.
Today, as we gather at the CTBUH World Congress, let us embark on a journey, such as ZERO-E, to reserve and evolve the positive role that tall towers have and will have on our urban environments," Ross said.
Launched at the 2010 Bloomberg Business Week Global Green Business Summit in Shanghai, ZERO-E was created to deliver on the promise of zero carbon and zero emissions development.
The ZERO-E pilot project examines the development potential of an industrial site on the Yangtze River in Chongqing, China. The study schemes proposes a 450,000 square meter mixed use development, featuring an 82-storey office and hotel tower, which will continually monitor and react to internal and external climatic conditions for maximum performance.