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X architecture project

Clippings and Musings by Helen Duval May 2017

With Summer fast approaching, it draws attention away from the political machinations that seem to be ever present in the news these days. However, with skills shortages still very much around, mortgages and cash deposits being ridiculously difficult to contend with for first time buyers, and everyone waiting with bated breath on the outcome of a snap general election to see where business is heading, there’s plenty of things that could cause major stress waves – however, the capabilities and achievements of the construction and materials sectors never fail to catch the imagination, and they continually push new boundaries and surprise us, with stunning designs and craftsmanship in finished projects always being far more inspiring subjects for discussion.

One case in point is the stunning X architecture project which is located at the foot of the Caucasus, in Georgia. Found in the country’s wine region at a 500m altitude, the installation has been constructed on a 2 hectare site in Kaheti.

Separated from the rows of the vineyard by just 2.5 metres, the design of the buildings has been created to blend with nature in the form of structural waves, which use a series of curved beams and glass.

The shape accommodates the environmental factors of the surrounding region and the associated qualities of Georgian wines. The building where the wine is stored, served and tasted, uses the thermals from the ground to moderate the internal temperature.

Whilst looking at dynamic architecture, possibly one of the most progressive designs out there at the moment is the ‘L’Arbre Blanc or The White Tree. This is due for completion this year and it takes green living to new heights.

‘L’Arbre Blanc or The White Tree

The stunning project can be found in the heart of modern Montpelier, between the city centre and the districts of Port Marianne and Odysseum, where it fuses urban living with hints of Japanese culture.

Greater Scope for Urban Living

As an architectural feat it is already impressive with its multipurpose use including apartments, offices, shops, bars and restaurants lying underneath steel and glass balconies which spread out like branches from a central area.

‘L’Arbre Blanc or The White Tree

According to Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto “It perfectly mimics a tree as it reshapes itself to grow into its environment…and enhances this to offer much needed shade to those inside.”

Inspired by Montpelier’s love of outdoor lifestyle, the 17 storey complex that encompasses some 10,000 sq.ft of space, has been developed to be completely energy efficient, utilising the best in eco-friendly products. This will enable the entire building to use local natural resources such as solar heating to sustain itself and its occupants.

Suburban living has seen boom periods over the decades, however it seems that the trend is reversing with urban conurbations providing people with more stress-free lives. With lifestyle and well-being now such major factors for consideration, architectural concepts clearly reflect the importance that glass has as a material in urban regeneration, with light, thermal performance and solar energy all key issues.

Prices for urban homes are rising and they bring a lot of convenience to many, in terms of proximity to work and cultural resources, which has resulted in this type of property now beginning to outpace suburban homes cost-wise, in some of the larger UK cities. For various reasons living within the city limits is becoming increasingly popular across a large swathe of the population, particularly as new architectural concepts, and light airy redevelopments of old industrial space now accommodate the needs for the occupants to be able to relax and enjoy their surrounds and urban lifestyle.

The idea of regeneration programmes has been around for a long time but the bond seems to be growing between residential and commercial projects. Whilst the L’Arbre Blanc project will be unique, the ideas of providing healthier urban living will inevitably become more commonplace.

In London, Birmingham and Liverpool for example, we see extensive re-development programmes that incorporate combined use buildings which bring together living space with retail, restaurants and offices which residents can all easily access.

Making these homes attractive to the investor will inevitably have to incorporate all the high spec standards required in building legislation, but more than that, glass will be one of the key factors in making it more appealing – with smart technology, solar heating and energy efficiency becoming as important as u-values and security.

FIT For Forward Thinkers

Looking to future ventures and market direction, it was an inspiring journey through the aisles of the NEC to see the new product developments being launched at The FIT Show by all exhibitors , …and we were very happy to hear that it was a positive venture for many of our customers.

As the Selecta team promised, the company’s presence was quite formidable. From all accounts by visitors to the show, they were very impressed and keen to work with the company that has launched a number of new products this year.

Likewise, the Corgi scheme has been well received by the sector with extremely positive feedback according to the visitors we spoke to, while Stuga machinery who were also exhibiting appeared to be having a very busy show. The Synseal stand once again was brimming with visitors throughout the three day event in Birmingham, with those we spoke to keen to explore the entire range.

No doubt we will discover more over the coming weeks regarding the success stories and we look forward to discovering more about positive industry direction.

Talking of directions, by the next edition we will have a new Government and hopefully some positive news about potential business growth as we look at the sector in the wake of triggering Article 50. Interesting times ahead indeed!

Helen Duval 2017

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