REX architecture: sitra – low2no sustainable development, finland


sitra, the finnish innovation fund low2no sustainable development, helsinki, finland
image courtesy REX architecture

american firm REX architecture received 2nd prize in the low2no sustainable
development competition sponsored by sitra, the finnish innovation fund in helsinki, finland.

the structure contains 14 000m2 of residential units, 8000m2 of headquarters and 13 200m2
of ‘urban infill’.


image courtesy REX architecture

evolving from helsinki’s traditional perimeter block fabric, a new building typology
re-injects population into the urban core, optimizing the city center’s underused
infrastructure and amenities.

image courtesy REX architecture

although contrary to finland’s current self-image, widely distributed slender towers
outperform all typological alternatives in nearly every imaginable, sustainable way.
combining the best of suburbia (sun, air, views, and even soil) with the best of
urbanism (population density and programmatic diversity), slender towers are the next
evolutionary step in helsinki’s perimeter block typology, creating a new option
for downtown living.


image courtesy REX architecture

instead of a narrow-minded focus on the energy performance of buildings,
these tools are the basis of a comprehensive national strategy—rebuilding 2.0,
that can put finland back into ecological balance.

‘the rebuilding’ is the application of rebuilding 2.0 at the scale of a single site,
where key strategies can be tested for their application to, and replication within,
the greater helsinki metropolitan area. designed to generate more density, more
diversity, and more city.


image courtesy REX architecture

two slender residential towers totaling 14,000 m² replace finland’s conventional
concrete construction with highly sustainable and recyclable steel construction,
whose lateral stability is provided by an exoskeleton that enables easy plan
reconfiguration and solar optimization.


image courtesy REX architecture

image courtesy REX architecture

contrary to conventional construction methods, the residential towers’ façades
are composed of a permanent mullion ‘chassis’ which supports interchangeable
window and insulation cassettes that aid flexibility over time, and that can be
easily maintained or replaced by new technologies.


image courtesy REX architecture

manually operable façade panels update the typical finnish exterior balcony.
a simple mechanism common in minivans enables the operable panels to be
opened horizontally. during summer, the open panels provide an identical
experience to that of a typical finnish balcony. during winter, however, the operable
panels can be kept closed, increasing usable interior area and solar gain while
reducing thermal loss.


image courtesy REX architecture

cohesion within the headquarters is fostered by concentrating collective spaces
and circulation within a highly transparent courtyard, thereby promoting
interaction and resource-sharing.

image courtesy REX architecture


image courtesy REX architecture

50,000 m 3 (13,200 m²) of urban infill—a hybrid between a building
and a development strategy—retains conceptual coherence, while fostering
evolution and multiple authorship.


image courtesy REX architecture

image courtesy REX architecture

by concentrating 22,000 m² of program 14 meters above grade into two slender
residential towers unified by a two story office ring and allowing for an additional
13,200 m² of fine grain development to occupy the street level frontage, the rebuilding
becomes a paradigm of density and diversity.

image courtesy REX architecture


image courtesy REX architecture


image courtesy REX architecture

credits:
client: sitra, the finnish innovation fund
program: mixed-use sustainable development containing 14,000 m² of residential
units, an 8,000 m² headquarters, and 13,200 m² of ‘urban infill’
area: 35,200 m² (378,900 sf)
status: limited competition, second prize, 2009
architect REX | croxton collaborative | now
key REX personnel: garrick ambrose, haviland argo, e. sean bailey, thomas baker,
christopher barley, behrang behin, barrett brown, keith burns, wayne congar,
juilanne gola, adam koogler, joshua prince-ramus, jacob reidel, troy therrien
consultants:  2×4, arup new york, bureau bas smets, front, jonathan rose companies,
magnusson klemencic, transsolar

source: designboom

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