BIG plan hatched to build trio of sustainable islands in Malaysia
With the recently-unveiled BiodiverCity, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has conceived one of its most ambitious projects to date. It envisions building three artificial islands in Malaysia that host housing, business and leisure facilities, and are powered by sustainable technology such as solar power and wind turbines.
Bringing to mind Denmark's plan to create nine new islands, the BiodiverCity proposal is slated for the south coast of Penang Island. The design was penned in collaboration with Hijjas and Ramboll, and was declared the winner of an international architecture competition held by Malaysia's Penang State Government.
The project would be huge and include 4.6 km (2.8 miles) of public beaches, 600 acres (242 hectares) of parks, and a 25 km (15.5 miles) waterfront. Mixed-use districts would host up to 18,000 residents, and there would be a focus on creating a pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly environment, with lots of public transportation available. Greenery would also be extensive, including green roofs and facades.
The first island to be built would be called The Channels. This would be centered around a 500 acre (202 hectare) "digital park," with sections for research, development and local businesses, as well as a family-oriented area with virtual reality and robotics attractions. Elsewhere would be a large wave pool, tech park, a government center, and a cultural area.
The second planned island is named The Mangroves, which would consist of a network of sheltered urban wetlands suitable for Mangrove forests. It would also feature business areas and a bamboo tower for hosting conferences and major events.
Finally, The Laguna would be made up of eight smaller islands that form an archipelago, where floating, stilted and terrace housing would be built. Fishing and the support of marine life would also be promoted.
BiodiverCity's buildings would be mostly constructed from bamboo and local timber, as well as some recycled materials. The islands would be powered by a combination of solar panels and wind turbines. Rainwater would also be collected for irrigation.
There's no word yet as to when construction is expected to begin on BiodiverCity at this early stage (nor the finer details on how the islands would be created, for example, though with BIG recently investing in Icon – one of the firms behind a 3D-printed community in Mexico – perhaps 3D printing technology might play a role in construction), so this one is best taken as a conceptual proposal for now rather than definite plan.