News Articles

Dutch firms win design prize for the most sustainable office project

Wuhan building Energy Flower

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

WUHAN, China – Say it with a flower, this time a lily. Two Dutch firms have won an international design competition by using a flower for their architectural concept of a building destined to become the home of a leading-edge environmental research centre. The Amsterdam-based Soeters Van Eldonk architects and sustainability project developer Grontmij of De Bilt envision a lily-shaped building for Wuhan's research institute in the field of new energy sources and sustainability.

On completion, the Wuhan Energy Flower will merit the most senior Three-Star Award in the China Green Building Evaluation System and will also be the first office building in the world to receive the BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ accreditation in the BRE’s International classification. Construction of the building will start in November 2010. The building is designed on behalf of Hubei Science & Technology Investment Company.

The building will have zero carbon emissions and has zero-energy ambitions. The office building will be approximately 140-metres tall, and surrounded by leaf-shaped laboratories at the tower's foot. The building is designed so that it will provide its own shade in the hot Chinese summer. The roof of the flower consists mainly of solar panels for generating energy. Rainwater is collected in the bowl and supplies the building. On the tower's top vertical wind turbines will generate wind energy. The edge of the bowl forms a sunroof designed for heating and cooling of the building. The building will be using the principle of natural ventilation.


It is envisioned that the building will become a major centre for research and development into new energy technologies as the public research platform of Wuhan University. It combines new energy applications and advanced technology with energy-saving, low-carbon, comfortable, intelligent, efficient, and unique artistic design.

With a population of over nine million, the city of Wuhan hopes to lead the sustainable city development in China. With these aspirations in mind, an international competition was called for the construction of the Wuhan New Energy Centre.

Project architect Jos van Eldonk says he took inspiration from nature itself for this innovative building design, integrating the collective influence of sun, wind and water into the design of the flower-shaped building. Technical skill and creative imagination are combined in a sustainable way, according to the architect. Engineering firm Grontmij is a specialist in environmental technology and concept.