Sci-fi building replaces Airstreams with real trees

Written by Staff Writer Until a few months ago, the walkways inside Yang Ning Road Building , a 16-story commercial and retail office tower in Shanghai, were made of wood — flexible — timber…

Sci-fi building replaces Airstreams with real trees

Written by Staff Writer

Until a few months ago, the walkways inside Yang Ning Road Building , a 16-story commercial and retail office tower in Shanghai, were made of wood — flexible — timber that has far less shade, so it’s never too hot.

Yong Wei, one of the developers in Shanghai, says a lot of buildings are constructed with similar methods, but you get bored with it after a while. What Yang Ning Road Building has is an embedded light sensor and path so the building responds to the weather. It’ll never stay dark.

Technology begins at home

It took Yang Ning Road Building two years to build this smart tower. Yong Wei, the head of Shanghai’s Ministry of Information Industry, says their technology is about modernizing, for both business and art, and about the future.

One of the partners said, “I saw your writing … so I thought we should change it to something people can be proud of, like (this).”

The building’s intelligence is powered by solid energy such as wind, solar power and geothermal. Thanks to rainwater collected in the basement, the building will never need water or electricity.

One very obvious piece of tech: the walkways have no floors to keep out people or run out of building air conditioners. Yong Wei says it’s just five times more effective. No dirty, plastic, air-conditioning drippings. This is meant to be easy for employees, who never have to worry about climate control for hours.

Little bits of technology

The building is open-faced with a white, three-dimensional facade, and at the bottom are three floors of offices for the Ministry of Information Industry, there’s a cafeteria and wellness center.

What has been called an ode to strong glass, the tower is part of a global trend of uses of transparent architecture. This blend of traditional lighting and some sci-fi technology caught the attention of the 2007 Academy Awards when it won a bronze statue.

Other projects with glowing surfaces include — Central Station Bond Street in London, the H2O floating building in Shanghai, the Astroturf at London’s Glastonbury music festival.

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