ARCHITECTURE + Weather IS A CATEGORY IN ARCHITIZER'S A+AWARDS. THE A+AWARDS CELEBRATES THE WORLD’S BEST ARCHITECTURE, SPACES AND PRODUCTS. LEARN MORE.
It has been a year since Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast, and we're still grappling with the ramifications of the storm. Indeed, responding to these increasingly frequent natural disasters—from Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, to the 2011 tsunami in Japan, to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti—requires not just rebuilding what once stood, but completely rethinking the way we design infrastructure. And that's not just for these hit areas either: Rising sea levels, wildfires and drought (which have already caused significant damage to the American Southwest), and flooding means that many more cities are in danger. (See our list of the cities threatened by climate change here.)
Now, it's time for us to dig a little deeper into how exactly the weather shapes architecture. We've selected projects designed as specific responses to natural crises brought on by a variety of atmospheric events. The Architecture + Weather Award will recognize the best projects in this category.
While the wings add a distinct sculptural element to the crown of this theater, they reflect direct sunlight, sheltering interior spaces from excessive heat. The slanting of the roof wings also work to harvest rainwater, taking advantage of the local climate and reducing the building's impact on the environment.
To expand on its experiments with algae-skinned bio-adaptive facades, Arup recently released its vision for buildings in 2050: modular eco-tower that functions as a self-contained ecosystem in itself, with co-working spaces, food-producing modules that grow meat and produce, health and education centers, gallery spaces, an underground transit network, and aerial cable cars knitting all the towers together. Oh, and the whole thing is built by robots.
Halley VI Research Station
Designed by Faber Maunsell and Hugh Broughton Architects
The winner of an international design competition, the new Halley VI Research Station is a hydraulically elevated ski based module. Perched atop stilted legs, the module responds to annually rising snow levels while the ski base allows for easy relocation.
Designed by MATSYS
Exhibited at Out of Water | innovative technologies in arid climates at the University of Toronto
Sietch Nevada is a new urban prototype that reimagines the infrastructure of the American Southwest. An underground urban community, Sietch Nevada makes storage, use, and collection of water essential to the form and performance of urban life.
Conceived to operate in a "wetter world," Skygrove fits into a new typology of high-rise structures that means to accommodate the rising tides and unpredictability of mother nature. Described as part environmental infrastructure and part vertical office park, Skygrove is a self-sufficient entity designed for independent survival during a disaster.
BIOME (2013 A+ Popular Vote Winner)
Sanjay Puri Architects
Located in the desert, this energy-efficient office building echoes the surrounding landscape with grass-covered dunes. The building, according to the architects, "imbibes tradition, responds to the desert climate of its location ... and creates a sculptural presence with open and enclosed spaces interspersed interestingly."
Skatepark at Rabalder Park
Designed by Nordarch
This skate park can accommodate for massive floods by funneling water through a long open channel that flows into three consecutive basins. In dry conditions, the path traced for water becomes a “celebration of human motion” and creates obstacles for skaters who, as the architect in charge of the project, Søren Nordal Enevoldsen, claims, already "feel at home in ditches and drainage systems."
Designed by su11 Architecture + Design
Exhibited at Open House | Intelligent Living by Design at the Vitra Design Museum/Pasadena Art Center
duneHouse is a new prototype for alternative housing communities developed for desert climates in Nevada and California. As both individual and community developments, duneHouse maximizes the limited resources provided by the desert while softening the impact on the surrounding habitat.
This large-scale project aims to decrease our carbon footprint and offer a sustainable answer to the world's increasingly rising waters by growing phytoplankton in order to absorb carbon dioxide excesses and create oxygen. Moored to a seabed with a system of cables, this semi-submersible hub can float along all coastal zones to alert in case of rising water or tsunamis.
The Whangapoua Sled House was designed to accommodate a family of five, providing them with sandy beaches, an oceanfront view, and a quick escape route for when disaster strikes. Situated in the erosion zone of New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula, the architects equipped the structure with a built-in sled, allowing the mobile beach home to be towed to higher ground as flood waters begin to rise.
Glass Igloo Village
Designed after years of research, the Glass Igloo Village in Kakslauttanen, Finland, provides guests a 360º views of the snowy, northern-lights while keeping them warm and toasty in their comfortable bungalow. Each igloo is constructed of thermal glass, ensuring fog-resistant views, even at temperatures of 30º below.
Transient Response System (TRS-1)
Designed by Adrian Ariosa and Doy Laufer
Designed by students at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles, the Transient Response System is a deployable architectural base that has the ability to assemble at short notice. The tower provides immediate shelter for victims of natural disasters, serving as a rally point and residential tower once flooding subsides.
The BayArc is a minimal, lightweight, and environmentally sensitive system designed to protect cities that are located on coastal bays—preventing flooding while maintaining a natural tidal exchange between ocean and bay.