Zaha Hadid’s Immense Galaxy SOHO Complex Takes LEED Silver

LEED, USGBC, Galaxy SOHO, architecture, Iraq, Zaha HadidOne of the most recognizable and untamable architects on earth, Iraqi Zaha Hadid is celebrating two grand openings of her creations this week, including the Galaxy SOHO commercial and retail complex in Beijing, China.

Swooping and fluid, and reminiscent of dunes and rivers and other natural features common in the Middle East, the sprawling 330,000 square meter concrete structure is comprised of four separate buildings enjoined by sky bridges. And it has achieved LEED Silver from the U.S. Green Building Council, which we must realize by now means virtually nothing anymore.

LEED, USGBC, Galaxy SOHO, architecture, Iraq, Zaha HadidClad in aluminum and insulated glass, the 67 meter tall complex is definitely powerful. Eschewing boring old blocks, Hadid opts instead for her distinctive fluid volumes that are dynamic and surreal. Really, it’s like the facade is moving. It’s not, of course. It’s not going anywhere.

All 18 floors of the office, retail and entertainment complex are a permanent fixture in Beijing, a giant monument to eternal consumerism. Sure the insulated glass prevents heat from escaping, and there’s plenty of daylight pouring in, obviously enough for the USGBC to give the project LEED silver, according to World Architecture News, but let’s stop pretending that a building like this is even remotely sustainable.

LEED, USGBC, Galaxy SOHO, architecture, Iraq, Zaha HadidLEED “consists of a suite of rating systems for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, homes and neighborhoods,” according to a USGBC definition, that was developed between 1995 and 2006.

We’ve learned a lot since 2006. We now know more about rapidly escalating climate change, population explosion, and peak oil, which resource is the engine of projects this size. If its LEED certification allows Hadid to believe she has done a good deed with the Galaxy SOHO, the system has failed.

LEED, USGBC, Galaxy SOHO, architecture, Iraq, Zaha HadidToday, any building that doesn’t produce all of its own energy is irresponsible. And any new extraction is wrong. Now is a time for transition, a time for scaling back our desires and not scaling up. With

Just because it’s beautiful doesn’t mean it’s right.

:: World Architecture News

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3 thoughts on “Zaha Hadid’s Immense Galaxy SOHO Complex Takes LEED Silver”

  1. Teresa Toole says:

    Any educated or even barely read architect is familiar with LEED standards these days. It does not matter where they live. LEED standards are considered only a partial solution toward the goal of sustainability, by many in the building and design trades. The conservative solution. So, you are correct, LEED silver is not much of an achievement. I do not understand why Manohman is projecting things that you did not say onto your article. I believe that Manohmam is the one who needs to learn more.

  2. Thanks for the advice Manohman. Just to be clear… you think that this building is sustainable? If so, perhaps you can tell me what sustainability means to you.

  3. Manohman says:

    You obviously (not apparently) have never been to China and seem to lack the slightest understanding about the challenges they are dealing with in this country. This all the while they already take many responsible measures at a development stage when the nations that are now fully developed where blowing it all up in the air in the most irresponsible way possible. The same nations that outsourced all their polluting industries to China by the way and now boast the apparent clean air that they created.

    Maybe start dissing the Chinese when their per capita energy consumptions is on par with western energy consumption and not only 25% (Europe) and 15% (USA) respectively. China currently is more energy efficient by a huge margin compared to all those fancy LEED Gold standard nations that never had to take any measures whatsoever while they were developing.

    Also there are probably less then a millionth of all buildings that are built today which are self sufficient.
    You are living in a dream world labeling all non self sufficient buildings as “irrensonsible”.

    Stop with your ideological crap and take a step out in the real world for once. Learn something.

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