Re­think­ing Ur­ban Land­scapes

Asia Outlook - - Construction - Project Man­ager: Tom Cul­lum

Ur­ban land­scapes are chang­ing. As the trend of mass mi­gra­tion into cities con­tin­ues apace across al­most all re­gions of the world, new chal­lenges are pre­sented to build­ing de­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects as to how high-rises can bet­ter cater to these mi­gra­tion pat­terns.

In­habit Group in­tro­duces it­self as “a unique, multi-dis­ci­plinary team of pro­fes­sion­als who are pas­sion­ate about mak­ing a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to our built en­vi­ron­ment”. Founded in 2010, the firm has of­fices spread across Asia Pa­cific, the Mid­dle East and Europe (UK) and com­bines ex­per­tise both in­ter­nally and through ex­ter­nal part­ner­ships with ar­chi­tects, de­sign­ers, en­gi­neers and con­trac­tors.

The con­sult­ing group fo­cusses on the de­liv­ery of spe­cial­ist en­gi­neer­ing ser­vices, from façade en­gi­neer­ing and acous­tics to light­ing and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

Re­gard­ing its core work of re­al­is­ing ar­chi­tec­tural vi­sions through tech­ni­cal so­lu­tions, In­habit’s phi­los­o­phy re­volves around “find­ing so­lu­tions that cost less, last longer and make build­ings more ef­fi­cient”. This in­volves care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of a num­ber of fac­tors, in­clud­ing aes­thet­ics, struc­ture sound­ness, pro­cure­ment, fab­ri­ca­tion and con­structabil­ity.

This is un­der­pinned by a drive to de­liver sus­tain­able builds without sac­ri­fic­ing the aes­thetic and eco­nomic and com­fort per­for­mance re­quire­ments of clients, with In­habit’s team of ex­perts com­pris­ing sci­en­tists and re­new­able en­ergy pro­fes­sion­als along­side ar­chi­tects and other build­ing en­gi­neers.

In­habit Group has con­sulted on some of the most strik­ing re­cent ad­di­tions to the built en­vi­ron­ment in cities across Asia

Land­mark projects

Across Asia, the Com­pany has worked on a wide ar­ray of con­struc­tion projects, span­ning com­mer­cial build­ings, res­i­den­tial projects, en­ter­tain­ment venues and re­tail sites, among oth­ers.

It is ar­guably in the com­mer­cial arena where In­habit’s scope and va­ri­ety of work can be best ex­plored, not least through its re­cent project with Ten­cent, the fourth largest in­ter­net com­pany in the world be­hind Google, Ama­zon and Face­book.

The US$200 bil­lion Chi­nese hold­ing com­pany, owner of WeChat, com­pleted its new global head­quar­ters last year, the Ten­cent Seafront Tower in Shen­zhen. It is a 250-me­tre tall ver­ti­cal cam­pus made up of twin tow­ers, de­part­ing from the tra­di­tional hor­i­zon­tal model adopted by most large tech­nol­ogy com­plexes around the world.

In­habit pro­vided full-process façade con­sult­ing ser­vices in­clud­ing de­sign, spec­i­fi­ca­tion, ten­der, shop draw­ing re­view and con­struc­tion su­per­vi­sion. The tow­ers are con­nected by three bridges – the top bridge a li­brary and con­fer­ence fa­cil­ity, the mid­dle a health and fit­ness suite, and the bot­tom act­ing as an ex­ten­sion to the build­ing’s base.

The build­ing is ex­pected to achieve LEED Gold cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and a 2-star rat­ing for the Chi­nese Green Build­ing pro­gramme, in part thanks to the way In­habit helped to de­liver a self­shad­ing façade which re­duced the build­ing’s en­ergy con­sump­tion by 20 per­cent when com­pared to the high­est base­line.

In the Chi­nese cap­i­tal Bei­jing,

In­habit worked on the Wangjing Soho build­ing, a se­ries of open-plan of­fice spa­ces con­tained in three dis­tinc­tive peb­ble-shaped build­ings with curved ex­te­ri­ors. As­sist­ing de­sign firm Zaha Ha­did, In­habit con­sulted on the win­dow wall sys­tem with cus­tom de­signed alu­minium fea­tures in vary­ing heights, widths and depth.

Award win­ning

Sev­eral projects which In­habit has pro­vided con­sul­tancy ex­per­tise on have scooped awards, in­clud­ing a mixed-use de­vel­op­ment in the Binhu District of He­fei, a city in An­hui in eastern China.

In De­cem­ber 2017, the He­fei ID Mall won the Best Mix-Use De­vel­op­ment at the MIPIM Asia Awards, an event which cel­e­brates the re­gion’s best real es­tate in­no­va­tions. De­signed by He­fei Pros­per­ity Prop­erty, In­habit con­sulted on the façade for the com­plex, which in­cludes a shop­ping and leisure mall and high-rise of­fice tower.

This was one of two award wins at the MIPIM gala for In­habit’s Shang­hai of­fice. The sec­ond was for the Lane 189 project, win­ner of the 2017 Best Re­tail De­vel­op­ment award, for which again the firm pro­vided con­sul­tancy on the façade.

Lo­cated in the Pu­tuo district in the cen­tre of Shang­hai, the project was de­signed to pro­vide a life­style des­ti­na­tion for young pro­fes­sion­als and fam­i­lies, pro­vid­ing re­tail, restau­rant and of­fice spa­ces. The de­sign con­verts a typ­i­cal mall into what is de­scribed as a ver­ti­cal self­con­tained city, in­cor­po­rat­ing el­e­ments of old Shang­hai in its ge­om­e­try with a con­tem­po­rary ex­pe­ri­ence.

Knowl­edge shar­ing

In­volve­ment in such projects is tes­ta­ment to the ex­per­tise In­habit Group can draw upon, and In­habit Bub­ble is a pro­gramme of free to use tools that al­lows thoughts, ideas and ex­pe­ri­ence to be shared across the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

One of these tools is the Glass Ex­plorer, de­signed to en­hance the way glass prod­ucts are short­listed and cho­sen for var­i­ous project re­quire­ments. Rather than rep­re­sent op­tions in la­bo­ri­ous spread­sheets, Glass Ex­plorer of­fers a vis­ual work­flow of prod­ucts’ char­ac­ter­is­tics and avail­abil­ity. On top of sim­pli­fy­ing the se­lec­tion process, this has also opened up In­habit Group to a wider range of glass sup­pli­ers and prod­uct lines.

An­other process sim­pli­fier is the

DTS Façade De­signer, which has been de­vel­oped to al­low ar­chi­tects to test their de­signs against com­pli­ance without hav­ing to man­u­ally cal­cu­late from in­for­ma­tion down­loaded on spread­sheets.

With ar­chi­tects freed up to con­cen­trate on the cre­ative and value-added el­e­ments of de­sign work, In­habit Group will con­tinue to of­fer lead­ing edge con­sul­tancy for land­mark projects in China and the wider Asian con­ti­nent.

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