Solaris is an office building created by, the before mentioned in this blog architect, Ken Yeang, as well as, T.R. Hamzah. This structure is part of the Fusionopolis 2B masterplan, an R&D hub for Infocomm Technology, Media, Physical Sciences & Engineering industries created by Zaha Hadid, in central Singapore’s one-north business park. The building was finally completed in 2011, after winning a competition held by the local government Jurong Town Council in 2008, thanks to its eco-design.
Solaris sits on a 7,734m² site and it is composed of two tower blocks separated by a central atrium, which is naturally-ventilated and glass-roofed. One of the towers has 15 levels, whereas the other one has 9, the levels are connected by sky bridges which span the atrium at the floors on the top. We can find an eco-cell located at the north-east side of the building which allows vegetation, daylight and natural ventilation to extend into the car-park levels below, and at the lowest floor of it, there are storage tanks and pumps for rainwaterharvesting. The building is 80m high, the total floor area is 51,282m² and a 1,4km landscaped ramp, which is actually larger than the total site area.
The façade of the building, influenced heavily by Singapore’s tropical climate, is considered green and unique thanks to the 1,4km landscape that goes around it. The vegetation also helps to cool down the façade.
As I mentioned before, this building is supplied with storage tanks and pumps for rainwater harvesting, which collects the water from a drainage in the second tower. This water is then used to irrigate the plants. The Solaris has been certified with the highest green certification in Singapure: The BCA GreenMark Platinum, thanks to his 36% reduction in consumption
The landscape ramp is, what I believe, the most characteristic part of the building. As I said before, it is 1,4 km long and 3m wide, it goes around the Solaris. This landscape is vital to Yeang’s eco-architecture, as it allows the central atrium to be open, allowing vegetation to develop due to the natural-ventilation and natural-light that comes into the building because of the glass-roof. This path, like the roof gardens and the atrium, is a great place to gather because of the clear view and calm in it.
Another aspect of this structure that called my attention is the vegetation-façade system. Not only gives the Solaris an ecological aspect with the flora, it also affects the building’s life. Thanks to the vegetation the temperature of the building decreases because of the shadow it creates. When you have daily temperatures of 30 ºc all year long, cool shadows are appreciated. Furthermore, Solaris increases the green footprint in the area.
Lastly, the thing that I appreciate the most is that most part of the façade is made of glass, see-through. In addition, the lighting system works on sensors and switches off automatically when there is adequate daylight, reducing energy consumption by 36%. Therefore, no artificial lights are needed during day activities because the sunlight reaches every corner of the building, even the basement parking lot, because of the ventilation system.