Rethinking Urban Landscapes
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
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.
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.
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.