Architecture

Vincent Callebaut promotes benefits of timber with green development

Vincent Callebaut promotes ben...
Archiborescence is being developed by Beci + BeCity Group and also involves landscape architecture firm Land'Act
Archiborescence is being developed by Beci + BeCity Group and also involves landscape architecture firm Land'Act
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Archiborescence is envisioned for Lille in northern France
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Archiborescence is envisioned for Lille in northern France
Archiborescence would feature significant greenery, irrigated by captured rainwater
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Archiborescence would feature significant greenery, irrigated by captured rainwater
Archiborescence would be primarily constructed from sustainably sourced cross-laminated timber
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Archiborescence would be primarily constructed from sustainably sourced cross-laminated timber
"The CLT manufacturing process requires much less energy than concrete or steel, and moreover it does not generate greenhouse gases," says Vincent Callebaut Architectures. "As a reminder, producing 1 ton of concrete generates 2.42 tons of CO2 and producing 1 ton of steel generates 0.938 tons of CO2"
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"The CLT manufacturing process requires much less energy than concrete or steel, and moreover it does not generate greenhouse gases," says Vincent Callebaut Architectures. "As a reminder, producing 1 ton of concrete generates 2.42 tons of CO2 and producing 1 ton of steel generates 0.938 tons of CO2"
Archiborescence would consist of a series of low-rise buildings measuring a total of 14,465 sq m (155,700 sq ft)
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Archiborescence would consist of a series of low-rise buildings measuring a total of 14,465 sq m (155,700 sq ft)
Archiborescence would include open plazas and other areas for pedestrians
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Archiborescence would include open plazas and other areas for pedestrians
Archiborescence would feature leisure facilities, including a gym and climbing wall
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Archiborescence would feature leisure facilities, including a gym and climbing wall
Archiborescence is being developed by Beci + BeCity Group and also involves landscape architecture firm Land'Act
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Archiborescence is being developed by Beci + BeCity Group and also involves landscape architecture firm Land'Act
Much of Archiborescence's available floorspace would be given over to residential space
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Much of Archiborescence's available floorspace would be given over to residential space
Archiborescence's interiors would be naturally ventilated and generous glazing would ensure lots of daylight inside
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Archiborescence's interiors would be naturally ventilated and generous glazing would ensure lots of daylight inside
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Following news of his DNA-inspired tower nearing completion, Vincent Callebaut has unveiled a proposal for a new mixed-use residential development that would be made primarily from timber. Named Archiborescence, the project showcases the architect's knack for blending nature and architecture, with lots of greenery and sustainability features like solar power and wind turbines.

Archiborescence (named by combining architecture and arborescence – or tree-like in appearance) is slated for the site of a former school in Lille, France, and would consist of a series of low-rise buildings measuring a total of 14,465 sq m (155,700 sq ft). This would be split into residential space, a hotel, office space, a gym with climbing wall and yoga facilities, and retail areas.

The project would be constructed using CLT (cross-laminated timber). This is primarily chosen to reduce the carbon footprint of the project but Vincent Callebaut Architectures says it offers other practical benefits too, such as, counterintuitively, improved fire safety. This claim chimes with what we've been told previously by timber construction experts. The firm also says that the project would involve the renovation of existing buildings, but it's not clear what would be retained.

"The CLT manufacturing process requires much less energy than concrete or steel, and moreover it does not generate greenhouse gases," says Vincent Callebaut Architectures. "As a reminder, producing 1 ton of concrete generates 2.42 tons of CO2 and producing 1 ton of steel generates 0.938 tons of CO2. In terms of fire resistance, remember that wood burns slowly, does not release toxic fumes, and transmits heat 250 times slower than melting steel and 10 times slower than concrete which cracks under the effects of the flames."

Archiborescence would be primarily constructed from sustainably sourced cross-laminated timber
Archiborescence would be primarily constructed from sustainably sourced cross-laminated timber

Rainwater would be captured and used for flushing toilets and irrigating the extensive greenery, including rooftop urban farms growing fruit and vegetables, and the buildings would feature natural insulation materials like straw and hemp. The apartments would be naturally ventilated, while roof-based solar panels and wind turbines would be hooked up to some kind of hydrogen-based electrical storage. We've no figures available at this early stage but the firm says that the aim would be for it to produce more energy than it requires.

Additionally, accessibility would be a focus and multiple meeting areas for pedestrians created. Non-car transport would also be encouraged, with maintenance services available for bikes.

Archiborescence is being developed by Beci + BeCity Group and also involves landscape architecture firm Land'Act. There's no word yet on if or when it's expected to go ahead, but we'll keep you posted.

Source: Vincent Callebaut Architectures

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2 comments
Nelson Hyde Chick
So we need more and more trees to build homes for more and more people, but we need more and more trees to mitigate climate change, and we are going to need more and more land to grow food for the more and more people. For anyone out there that thinks this will work out I have some swampland to sell you.
Alexander Lowe
There are ways to slow population growth, like providing birth control, sex education, family planning, educating and empowering women (educated women tend to start having children later).
In some countries at least, the problem is less the number of homes to go round, more the failure of housing markets and a lack of economic planning.
More than 28% of the woeld's food goes to waste at present, so this too is not a hopeless situation, but a case for redistribution.
Trees absorb CO2 most effectively whle they are still young and growing rapidly, and they are not the only kind of carbon dioxide 'sink'.
Finally, this is expensive showpiece architecture, not a wooden block of flats for ordinary people.