Zodiac Sea View Residential
April 2001 This 16,000,000 habitable square foot residential development in Shenzhen, China covering two square city blocks of land features great colorful abstract roof structures, based on the twelve Chinese zodiac animals, which are weatherproofed colored screens that act as large sun canopies. The city of Shenzhen is located next to Hong Kong in southern China where it is extremely hot and humid during the spring, summer and autumn months. People typically do not use the roof area of their apartment buildings and thus a large square footage of area is wasted. In this design, this commonly unused area is now featured as an attractive recreation setting containing water fountains, reading areas, lush, built-in planting and flowers, game tables, bar B-Q picnic areas, courtyards and large benches for napping. The zodiac animal sculpture sun canopies keep out the intense sun. They also create a striking countenance to the buildings giving each apartment building a unique identity.
The development as a whole works like a living organism. It collects rain water from a rain-catch roof system. This water, along with raw sewage, grey water and discarded water from air conditioning units, is directed to a large 2 acre constructed wetlands "lake" where specially selected water plants and marine organisms feed upon the waste materials and eventually turn black and grey water into certifiably clean swimming water with little or no maintenance except for a solar powered water pump and occasional monitoring of the water pipes. This cleaned water is then pumped back into the building for use in showers, baths, sinks, washing machines and drip irrigation for built-in plants and flowers.
Built-in photovoltaic panels are integrated with each apartment façade to give each individual apartment its own self-controlled electrical supply. The rounded structure of the buildings gracefully accommodates year-round breezes from the South China Sea which is only ½ kilometer away. This curvilinear feature also makes the buildings less likely to attract wind-carried fire because the curving façade directs winds around the surface of the building instead of drawing wind to it as a flat, rectilinear building would do. The fascia of the buildings are clad with colored mirrored tile to reflect light throughout the area in ever changing hues according to the position of the sun during the morning, afternoon and evening.
The grounds of this development are
a powerful combination of the most uniquely spectacular and colorful
plants, flowers and trees native to this region and a strikingly imaginative
formation of diverse works of art. A recreation center, hospital, management
office, open-air market, lavatories, suspension bridgeways, streams
and surging waterfalls surround the site and form the main entrance.
Every building has a ground level pond, water fountains, and trellised
patios. It is as if nature and humanity became partners in design to
create a unforgettable place of natural technology and high art.
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