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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bio-mimicry in Architecture

By Team IAnD
Photography: Courtesy the architect

UN Head Office & Blue Planet by Architects 3XN
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Architects 3XN depict their diligent comprehension of futuristic design concepts with strong traces of bio-mimicry through two award-winning projects – the UN head office and the Blue Planet aquarium in Copenhagen…

With their UN head office’s Green Building Award 2012 by the European Commission firmly feathering their cap, Denmark-based 3XN architects have now bagged the Display Award 2013 at the World Architecture Festival for the Blue Planet aquarium.

UN Head Office & Blue Planet by Architects 3XN
Blue Planet                                                                                                                                                                  Photo (c) Adam M¢rk

Both projects in question stand apart for their iconic architectural vocabulary with strong references of biologic attributes to building design.

UN Head Office & Blue Planet by Architects 3XN
Blue Planet                                                                                                                                                                  Photo (c) Adam M¢rk

UN Head Office & Blue Planet by Architects 3XN
Blue Planet                                                                                                                                                                  Photo (c) Adam M¢rk

With Blue Planet inspired by the shape of water in endless motion, shaped as it is, like a whirlpool, the building itself tells the story of what awaits inside. The whirlpool concept originates in a narrative about water, and as an image, is at once, both, abstract and figurative, grabbing eyeballs with its distinctive vortex blades; so it does as a building, changing dramatically depending on the viewing angle, distance and daylight conditions.

UN Head Office & Blue Planet by Architects 3XN
Blue Planet                                                                                                             Photo (c) Adam M¢rk

In an aerial view, the building is almost entirely white, its contours reminiscent of a starfish. From the front, the building’s organic lines are evocative of silvery-grey waves or a vast sea creature, and on closer inspection, the facade patterning is reminiscent of fish scales. This is a building that invites interpretation.

UN Head Office & Blue Planet by Architects 3XN
Blue Planet                                                                                                                                Photo (c) Adam M¢rk

The whirlpool concept was chosen as ideal not only for its visual associations, but also because it resolved a practical challenge in the design brief: it ensures that one or more of the whirlpool arms, with relative ease and without disrupting the building’s integrity nor the operation of the aquarium, can be extended with more than 30% in order to create more exhibition space. The facade is covered with more than 33,000 small diamond-shaped aluminum shingles, which adapt to the building's organic form - clearly visible from the nearby Copenhagen Airport.

UN Head Office & Blue Planet by Architects 3XN
UN Head Office

The other of their award-winning buildings - the UN City is expected to become one of Denmark’s most energy efficient buildings with an annual energy consumption of less than 50 KwH per m2.   With minimum LEED® Gold certification, the new UN headoffice located in the northern harbour of Copenhagen. Its star-shaped exteriors metaphors the nature of each UN unit working independently, efficiently and professionally with clear roots in a mutual set of values – ’Delivering as One’.

The design sees a marriage of ‘openness’ and ‘security’ – two prime concerns of the organization. While high security and accessibility standards have been central considerations in the design, it has been a key part of the design to ensure that the high security level does not become the dominating factor when entering the building. Instead, security and openness should be experienced as two aspects of the same coin.

UN Head Office & Blue Planet by Architects 3XN
UN Head Office

A dynamic atrium serves as the centre of everyday flurry, offering visual and physical connections across floors and units in a space full of natural daylight, bound physically and emotionally via a central staircase. All office levels have an open and flexible layout permitting interaction as well as individual immersion. A healthy good indoor climate is further enhances by green recreational areas and a number of sustainable features.  

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