MVRDV describes upcoming LAD HQ as a “sustainability machine”

If you’re going to call your building a “sustainability machine,” you’d better back that up with some energy efficient features. MVRDV has done just that with its design for LAD HQ, which will reduce its carbon footprint with the use of solar power, rainwater collection, and a focus on natural light and ventilation.

The LAD HQ (Lankuaikei Agriculture Development Headquarters) also involves Buro Happold as an energy consultant, and co-architect ECADI. The project is slated for Shanghai, China and, assuming it goes ahead, will consist of 11 floors, which will mostly be divided between offices and laboratories.

However, the design also calls for an auditorium and exhibition space, retail spaces, and a courtyard. The building’s canteen and parking will be below ground in basement levels but gaps will let in light, air and greenery.

The building’s overall design is inspired by traditional Chinese terrace farming methods and is defined by an eye-catching curved roof that shades wood-lined terraces and integrates the solar panels and rainwater collection system.

LAD HQ's outdoor terrace areas will be partly constructed from wood and will feature significant greenery
LAD HQ’s outdoor terrace areas will be partly constructed from wood and will feature significant greenery


“Viewed from above, the building is rectangular in plan, yet it is given a striking curved shape by the series of terraces that step down to a courtyard and the main pedestrian entrance on the north side,” says MVRDV. “The terraces are clad in wood and covered in greenery, and they include a publicly accessible route to the top of the building that provides spaces for LAD to showcase its work and research. A curving roof structure which follows the shape of the terraces covers the ensemble.

“On the southern part of the building, this structure supports solar panels, while on the north it is permeable, filtering sunlight but allowing rain to reach the terraces below. On the outer walls, the building’s facade is a pleated arrangement of solar panels and glass, angled to protect the interior from strong summer sunlight while allowing winter sunlight into the interiors. On the building’s southern edge, these walls also help protect the office workers from the noise of the main road outside.”

The rainwater collection system will provide water for toilet use, while the solar panels will reduce the building’s draw on the power grid. MVRDV reckons that these, along with its selection of sustainable materials like wood, plus the promotion of natural ventilation and natural light, will make it “almost” energy neutral in operation. The project is also slated to meet a Chinese green building standard.

We’ve no word yet on when construction on the LAD HQ is expected to begin, nor when it’s likely to be completed. 2021 has proven a busy year for MVRDV so far, with this project following the Harbour Experience Center, Hill Quarter & The Music Mountain, and Marble Arch Hill.

Source: MVRDV

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