Bold and innovative, the Israel-based firm Geotectura produces otherworldly designs with a social conscience that even Bill McKibben might endorse. Their CT-cubes and hovering high-rises rival any science fiction graphic, while the X2S shelter, designed to provide physical and medical refuge in disaster zones, is nothing short of genius. But can their fancy become sustainable reality?
Founded by Dr. Joseph Cory, Geotectura designed the 12 unit residential building Sun Sail to be built in Haifa, a port city north of Tel Aviv where Arabs and Jews live as neighbors.
“The building aims to become a flag ship to the city of Haifa and to Israel by increasing the awareness to social, energy, and ecology design in residential buildings,” according to the company literature.
With their signature flair, the building’s south facade is rounded out to mimic a sail. Not only does this increase its aesthetic appeal, but incorporates design components that are crucial to sustainable building.
“Embedded with photovoltaic cells resembling a sail to maximize the solar exposure. This unique shape of the PV facade functions also a roof, rain catchments, shading canopy, heat isolator and as an iconic figure,” according to Geotectura.
The southern facade collects heat and daylight from the morning and afternoon sun, which translates to less electricity consumption. Meanwhile, positioning the north end towards the valley (and view), provides a natural, passive cooling effect. Water efficiency, water reuse, and recycling waste programs also contribute to the building’s sustainability ethos.
In order to be high-performance, a step up the sustainable ladder, The Sustainable Building Industry Council suggests that buildings should be: “sustainable, safe/secure, function, aesthetic, historic, productive, accessible, and cost-effective.”
To this end, Geotectura comes remarkably close. Though they don’t list either the initial building costs or anticipated rent prices, and the building is new, and therefore not historical, they have stressed that Sun Sail units will be accessible to people of all ages and abilities.
In addition, the building will be adjacent to an existing green space, a park, in order that mobile residents can take advantage of bicycle and walking paths.Though particularly exciting for the firm and the city, the Sun Sail also demonstrates that Israel is moving definitively towards economically, ecologically, and socially conscious building.
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