Vanke Architecture Research Center

Z+T Studio: Located at Dongguan, China, Vanke Architecture Research Center (VARC) focuses on housing industry related studies. It will become the research base of special architectural material, low-energy consumption methodology and eco-landscape study. Environmental friendly material development is the focus of eco-landscape study, such as the application of precast concrete modules in future real-estate projects, the exploration of different types of pervious materials and plant selection and arrangement etc. In order to achieve the goal of low maintenance overall in the campus, two major issues need to be addressed: a) stormwater management; b) low maintenance construction and planting material.

Run off Quantity Controlling: Two small triangular sites are designed as “Ripple Gardens”. We conduct planting design experiment in a triangular parcel to compare short bushes with lawns. The canopy tree is the most efficient element in storm water management because of prolonged rainwater dripping period. The slope of the lawn and the wave can be adjusted to realize best infiltration effect without triggering water-logging or speedy flow. We examine different hardscape materials in a semi-circular parcel. The space between the waves adopts different pervious material (the bark, the ceramics, the gravel and sand etc.). The edge of the waves is designed to observe and compare the overflow amount of different materials.

Stormwater Quality Controlling: In the “Windmill Garden”, a 32m-tall windmill provides power for pumping the collected stormwater to the building roof for oxygen-exposure. The primary purification is not finished until the water falls down to the retention pool. Then, the stormwater passes a series of phytoremediation pools, incorporating the passage forsight-seeing and maintenance. The re-purified stormwater flows through an examination valve. The standardized purified water enters a reflection pool, serving as a child-playing space. The unqualified water returns to the cycling system for another round of purification.

Low maintenance construction & planting materials: Precast concrete (PC) technique is well developed and widely used in US and EU countries. In terms of appearance, the size, color and texture of PC modules are hardly different from those of granite. Meanwhile, it has significant meaning of low-energy consumption. First, the replacement of PC over granite avoids extreme mining. Secondly, most paving areas employ concrete sub support slab in China. Therefore, the penetration of rain water cannot be realized anywhere where there is pavement—both for vehicle or pedestrian passage. PC is so thick that the concrete slab can be defaulted, and the rain water penetration can be strengthened. Meanwhile, PC can be customized to enable grass-embedded pavement. It can improve the visual effects and eco-significance of large pavement area stipulated by regulations, such as the parking lot and the fire lane. Besides, we also design various outdoor PC structures, such as benches and bike racks etc. With the help of mould, the appearance can be customized and the endurance can be improved to be used widely in future housing projects in China.

Photos: Hai Zhang
Lead Designers: Dong Zhang, Ziying Tang
Civil Engineer Consultant: Qinhui Shen
General Contractor: Dong-Guan Boya Landscape Construction Co., Ltd.
Landscape Architects: Qiang Du, Hua Zhao, Wanrong Dong, Meifang Zhang, Shuhan Qin, Xiaojue Zhang
Structure Consultant: Haihui Chen
Corridor Garden Contractor: Dong-Guan Boya Landscape
Windmill Garden and Ripple Garden Contractor: Shenzhen Four Season Gardening and Flowers Co., Ltd.
Project Manager: Yana Li
Technique Manager: Zhipenq Sun
Windmill Contractor: Iron Man Windmill (Wuhan) Co., Ltd. – Thomas Coulon
Feature Products: Precast Concrete Manufacture by Dongguan Vanke Building Technique Research Co., Ltd
Solar Panel Manufacture by Hengshui Zhongye Light Technology Co., Ltd.

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