Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Cloud

By Drew Baldwin

When you hear the words “the cloud” mentioned, it used to be that you would generally only think of the clouds in the sky, but technology has recently changed that. Now when those words are spoken, more often than not, one will be thinking of that mysterious storage device (or whatever it is) that so many people seem to be using these days, whether we actually trust its “security” or not. The reason I bring this up is because the idea of a cloud is now being carried over into sustainable design. In the world of sustainable design, there are endless ideas out there: green communities, urban gardens/farms, urban forest, garden apartments, etc. MAD Architects, who generally seem to have pretty forward thinking designs have taken the idea of the cloud and made it a sustainable design solution with the Solar Powered Metallic Cloud Museum for Xiamen China.

The museum has a molten metal shape, which will be mirrored to reflect the beauty of the surrounding landscape while the five, seemingly slender legs provide ample space for parks and recreation under the structure. The design is comprised of three levels. At ground level, landscaped public space leads visitors around, the site to various recreational spaces: amphitheaters, open sports fields and places to meet. The middle level makes up the museum itself, where the main functions such as exhibition spaces, cafes, restaurants and offices hover high above the ground. The roof level contains landscaped areas referencing the natural surroundings of the museum: a unique topography of lakes, greens and wetlands, all publicly accessible, floating high above the ground. The roof also contains solar panels, taking advantage of the city’s warm climate. The museum’s position, high above the center of the lake, provides uninterrupted views of the city beyond. The uniqueness of this design poses the question of whether this is the best solution to the problem and also if this could be applied in other cities around the world. With its elevated structure, it lightly touches the ground (so to speak) while offering plenty of building space as well as natural landscape. Will the cloud become a concept of sustainable design that others will follow in the future?

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