All posts by Giulio


A Trip through Antireality in Design

What does Antireality mean to you in your work?

Antireality: Antireality is a conceptual room in my own imagination, where structural truth does not prevent me from exploring designs I cannot create in terms of that paradigm.

It is my escape from my daily existence: A dreamlike record of my vision for an idealistic world, aiming to stimulate other peoples’ imagination.

I draw my ideas from the natural world of plants and animals. Things I notice when I leave the city to spend time in nature.

So architecture and nature could harmonize together? Tell me more.

Antireality: Everything, you, I, plants, animals, buildings have their existence in nature. I like to imagine how these realities could merge. So you’ll notice organic images fusing with structures in my antireality imagination.

This is my internal world where I am free to play with forms, shapes, dimensions and colors without having to take account of objective reality. In a sense I am antireal in this mode.

What are the drivers and motives behind your antirealism?

Antireality: I try to deliberately escape the ‘rules’ of objective reality. In other words, I don’t limit myself in terms of architectural language. But this does not mean you will not discover common conceptual themes in my work, although my design philosophy prevents them for becoming limitations on my style.

At the moment I am in a mode of creating idealistic, semi-real extensions of what I see about me. But this does not mean I have made this a rule either. I may be doing something else later to get away from daily routine.

So the Antireality posts on Instagram question the current reality?

Antireality: Yes they do, and through them I want you to see the relationship between architecture, nature and people in a different light. I want to submerge you in an alternative world that challenges your assumptions about these things.

Each of the Instagram creations is on the boundary of what is real and possible, and where fantasy begins. They are akin to that phase of sleep where you can still consciously experience your dreams.

So your Antireality designs are not your own deliberate creation?

Antireality: Antireality designs occupy space beyond the bounds of human logic, similar to dreams when entering sleep. We have to shed our external reference points first before they are possible to create.

I form my designs by day-dreaming white space, until a concept appears in my virtual canvas. Only then can I begin my work, although sometimes I have to fan the flame of the idea.

Amazing Mountain House in British Columbia designed by Milad Eshtiyaghi

Mountain House in British Columbia designed by Milad Eshtiyaghi

The idea of ​​the design start from the base that was already there on the site of the 4 old trees, and we wanted to building our project without cut or move the trees so we built our project around the trees and in the space of between we made a backyard in front of the trees. 

The architect divided the project into three levels according to the client need:

One level for family parents. One level for son’s of the family and his wife. We connect these two level by the level above which is the recreational sports space. 

Project canopies can be mechanically opened and closed depending on sun move or depending on person. The windows of the valley side can be opened and closed so that windows become a terrace and terrace becomes a windows and the structure of this system is a cable.

The Circular Villa by ANTIREALITY

The CIRCULAR VILLA by ANTIREALITY is a conceptual design of a summer house situated within a cliff recess. The key to this project was to design the house that shape integrates into the structure of the rocky landscape. The white and abstract volume of the design fits within the cliff niche simultaneously does not create a direct geometrical connection.

The name of the building refers not only to the shape of the central spiral staircase (leading to the circular roof pool) but also pertain to a general circular motif used throughout the entire project. A breakthrough view of the surroundings provoked the idea of the observatory-like house. The central circulation core rises up like a tower with all the house zones build around it. Terraces constitute a significant part of each of the floors which contain viewing platforms for watching the surrounding wildlife. Thanks to the dry and warm climate, Circular Villa challenges the concept of division between outdoor and indoor. Terraces and the main circulation core connect different zones of the building, this creates a natural flow between indoor and outdoor areas. The roof terrace is topped by the circular pool allowing users to enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding. 

Visualization by Antireality

The Circular Villa consists of five main functional zones: work area (level 0 – studio), day area (level I – kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom), night area (level II – bedroom, bathroom), viewing area (level III – terraces, rooftop with a pool), circulation area (spiral staircase connecting all of the levels). 

The vast majority of the building area of approx. 750 m² contains terraces and outdoor spaces. The folded slab visually connects all of the building zones with the surroundings. The main structure is made of reinforced concrete, the facade is designed from glass and perforated metal panels, the primary interior material is white wooden panels. Circular facade elements are movable and can be adapted according to the position of the sun. Thanks to this simple flexible installation facade system response to multiple needs of users. 

summer house embedded in the cliff
cliff house with circular roof pool
futuristic cliff house
cliff house with ocean view
house inside the rock
circular house with spiral staircase

Connect with the ANTIREALITY

Can The Construction Industry Require Mandatory Vaccination Of Workers?

by Sahil Shoor , Tristan Neill , Anne Lemay and Cristina Borbely

Gowling WLG

The nature of construction work makes physical distancing and other Infection Prevention and Control measures difficult to implement.  This heightens the importance of vaccinations in preventing and containing COVID-19 on construction sites.  Despite this, the complex contractual organization of construction projects, and the numerous players with overlapping health and safety obligations, human rights and freedoms, creates unique challenges for developing a vaccination strategy.  It is increasingly clear that COVID-19, and COVID-19 vaccinations, will be with us for some time; careful forethought and planning for dealing with vaccinations is required at all stages of the construction process, from initial procurement, through contract drafting, to managing onsite construction.   

The above factors raise numerous questions for participants in the construction industry, such as:

  • Can employers require that their employees be vaccinated or to disclose their vaccination status?
  • What influence can participants at higher rungs of the construction ladder, like owners, exert over participants at lower rungs, like contractors and sub-contractors?
  • Can an owner require a contractor to only employ vaccinated employees and subcontractors?
  • Can certain projects or construction sites be off-limits to non-vaccinated workers?
  • Who will bear primary responsibility for dealing with vaccinations on a given project?
  • What policies should be put in place regarding vaccinations?
  • What steps can be taken if an employee or other industry participant refuses to get vaccinated or comply with vaccination policies?

What does the law say?

Existing case law has not dealt with these issues to any significant degree. However, there is some direction from across Canada with regard to mandatory vaccination, which is not without precedent.  In Ontario and New Brunswick it is imposed by law in the public school setting with limited exceptions for certain medical and religious/reasons of conscience grounds.  In the workplace, the issue has been frequently litigated in the healthcare setting, where unions have challenged mandatory vaccination policies or policies such as “vaccinate or mask” against seasonal influenza as infringing on the collective agreement. However, the case law is inconsistent. While “Vaccinate Or Mask” (“VOM”) Policies in healthcare settings were upheld in some cases,2 such policies were found to be unreasonable in others.3 Currently, there is no mandatory vaccination requirement for people working in health care, long-term care and retirement home settings in Ontario. 

Based on the pre-COVID-19 case law on VOM policies, it is clear that much will depend on the leadership of provincial and territorial medical officers of health to mandate vaccination.

In response to the pandemic, the Ontario government has implemented a new form of unpaid, job-protected leave known as “Infectious Disease Emergency Leave” (“IDEL“), which is available to employees who will not be performing their duties for certain prescribed reasons. It is of note that the Ontario government has published commentary suggesting that employers may place employees on IDEL where the employees have not received the COVID-19 vaccine, and the employer is concerned that the employees may expose others in the workplace to COVID-19. This should not, however, be considered to be an endorsement of mandatory vaccination policies.

IDEL is currently set to expire on July 3, 2021, unless further extended. It is currently unclear whether the vaccine will be widely available in Ontario prior to July 3, 2021. Therefore, it is unlikely that employers can justify imposing a mandatory vaccination policy and placing unvaccinated employees on IDEL while the vaccine remains largely unavailable to the general public.

In all cases, employers have a duty to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of workers pursuant to occupational health and safety legislation.  A mandatory vaccination policy would be adopted pursuant to these obligations. During the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, employers have been required to develop a COVID-19 safety plan and to implement active screening of employees for COVID-19. Whether employers will be required to additionally screen employees based on immunization remains unclear.

Can An Employer Implement a Mandatory Vaccination Policy?

At this time, as there is no scientific evidence that COVID-19 transmission is reduced following vaccination, mandatory vaccination policies may be difficult to justify.  Employers will also need to consider whether less intrusive measures (such as hand-washing, mask-wearing and daily screenings or incentive vaccination policies) are sufficient to promote the health and safety of workers and of the workplace without imposing mandatory vaccination.

Employees have a right to be free from discrimination and employers have a duty to accommodate employees to the point of undue hardship under human rights legislation. Any vaccination policy will need to be flexible enough to accommodate those employees who are unable to be vaccinated, be it for a medical or religious reason. Further, in Canada, refusing to be vaccinated is unlikely to be upheld as cause for termination of an employee’s employment, such that employers could be liable for wrongful dismissal damages for employees who refuse to be vaccinated.

In unionized settings, employers will need to meet the added requirement that any policies instituted be reasonable and consistent with the collective agreement.

Absent public health guidance or directives, employers will be required to conduct individual case-by-case analyses to ensure that all risks and factors have been considered before mandating vaccination for employees.


This analysis suggests a number of key takeaway points for the construction industry:

  • Primary responsibility for construction project health and safety rests with the “constructor,” and is often contractually assigned to the prime contractor.  These responsibilities include compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, its regulations, and any other applicable safety policies, including the duty to take all precautions reasonable to protect the health and safety of workers. 
  • What is reasonable will depend on the nature of the work at each project site, and on the ever-changing medical evidence relating to COVID-19 and vaccine efficacy.  Different levels of risk (of COVID-19 transmission) may justify different policies.
  • Some employees will have legitimate human rights grounds for refusing to get the vaccine.  Others will simply refuse to do so.
  • Vaccination policies must be reasonable given the circumstances, and should include exceptions, accommodations, and alternative measures for employees who are unable to get the vaccine on the basis of a protected grounds.  A “one-size-fits-all” approach will carry risks.
  • Workplaces with high risk of Covid-19 transmission may be afforded greater flexibility in dealing with mandatory vaccination policies.     
  • Accommodation may include deploying non-vaccinated employees to worksites with lower risks of transmission, and continuing with masking and physical distancing policies for these workers.

It appears increasingly likely that COVID-19 will be circulating in the community for at least the mid-term, and that careful planning is required to transition to the COVID-19 vaccination era. 

Gowling WLG’s construction and employment law teams are available to provide advice on developing a comprehensive strategy for managing COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccinations.

GG-loop brings biophilic regenerative architecture to large-scale urban developments

The need for healthy homes has hardly ever been more apparent than during the current global condition. The current efforts to reduce the negative impacts of buildings are inadequate. Therefore the built environment must be designed in a different way. To bring regenerative collective habitation to all scales of development, Amsterdam architecture practice GG-loop, sharing the vision with Arup, is developing Mitosis: a modular building system created by a parametric design tool following biophilic and user-centric design principles.


GG-loop’s goal is to develop an architectural solution that “gives back” to the Planet and can serve as a benchmark for the real estate and urban development sector. Mitosis’ vision is to deepen the understanding of its relationship with Nature, to raise awareness and sensitize both professionals and the general public regarding the importance of biophilic architecture as an answer to the current climate condition.

Sharing the same vision as Arup, GG-loop works to inspire and provide healthy sustainable living communities and net-positive impacts on ecology and society. By working with the natural environments rather than against it, the natural balance and health of the planet can be restored.

Giacomo Garziano stated “Mitosis aims to support the daily uses and the tasks of the inhabitants, in order to promote direct and indirect contact with nature. We aim to generate a healthy, emotional, and productive habitat for rest, work, and living at 360° with nature.”

Mitosis is the follow-up of a multi-awarded pilot project completed by GG-loop in 2019: Freebooter, a pair of prefabricated CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) apartments in Amsterdam, wrapped in a parametric timber louvered facade. The building was created using biophilic principles, connecting architecture with nature in order to improve the life quality of the people who use the building. GG-loop’s ambition to bring these qualities to multiple scales has resulted in Mitosis.
The name Mitosis refers to the biological process of a single cell dividing itself into two identical daughter cells. It represents the modularity and the long-term adaptation of the system and serves as a metaphor for a flexible co-living organism where each residential unit coexists in symbiosis with all the others and its environment.

Bringing biophilic design to large-scale developments

The “Biophilia Hypothesis” by Edward O. Wilson reveals why humans have an intrinsic need to connect with nature and other living systems. Mitosis adopts the 14 principles of biophilic design and articulates the relationships between nature, human biology, and the design of the built environment. It builds an ecosystem where dwellers experience a unique way of living and fulfill their innate desire to reconnect with nature. Exposed to green shared areas, tiny forests, and gardens that cascade up and down the entire building, dwellers can benefit from the direct and indirect connection with nature. Health and well-being are fostered through careful material choices, flexible layouts, organic interiors, and large outdoor spaces.

Giacomo Garziano, founder of GG-loop said “Our vision goes further than the integration of just green systems, but rather creates a built environment that restores and nurtures its surroundings, and that serves as a catalyst for positive change.”

Positive footprint ecosystems

Mitosis creates regenerative ecosystems with a positive ecological footprint. It balances the technical benefits of an environmentally conscious construction with the qualities of an organic and healthy environment in which its residents coexist harmoniously.

Mitosis generates urban clusters using prefabricated timber and bio-based modules that are cost-efficient and flexible in its construction. By consciously choosing materials that capture carbon and using resources more efficiently, Mitosis constructs a net-positive built environment that produces more energy than it consumes and uses resources in a circular way.

The enhancement of biodiversity in the urban fabric has a beneficial impact on the quality of life and the environmental education of the inhabitants. Mitosis integrates plant and animal life throughout the buildings, allowing its dwellers to coexist harmoniously with the biodiversity of local flora and fauna. Mitosis is designed to co-evolve with its surrounding, by recreating ecosystems appropriate to the climate, site, and residents. In this way, Mitosis can facilitate the conservation and improvement of the biodiversity that exists on the site. 

Giacomo Garziano, founder of GG-loop also stated “We are part of nature in a deep and fundamental way, but in our modern lives we’ve lost that connection. In addition to the technical benefits of acoustics improvement, CO2, and urban heat reduction, being in direct contact with nature has proven to improve physical and mental health and overall well-being.”

Social cohesion

The distinct rhomboid shape of the individual design modules is integral to the functionality of Mitosis. Stacking these modules creates large areas for shared outdoor living, with each unit having at least one terrace.

Mitosis’ vertical connections are placed externally to connect the units and terraces, creating a continuous ribbon of outdoor ‘cloister-like’ spaces, fostering a sense of openness, belonging, protection, and privacy for residents.

Mitosis’ construction is organic and flexible, providing large areas of urban and vertical farming, greenhouses, wildlife corridors, and integration of habitat creation, that encourage shared outdoor activities among residents.

By applying elements of nature and providing available renewable resources in shared facilities and infrastructures of community living, Mitosis encourages dwellers to engage in pro-environmental practices and share their expectations of sustainability. This helps create healthier environments and improve social interaction.

Project development

Mitosis is developed by parametric and BIM 3D modeling software. It generates dwelling clusters composed of prefabricated CLT modules through a complex iterative process. The optimized volume and scale of Mitosis are based on the calculation and simulation of parameters related to specific stakeholders’ needs and conditions of a given site.

The volumes and internal layouts derive from the calculation and simulation of parameters related to specific conditions of the site: solar radiation, wind impact, privacy, population density, common spaces index, and vertical connections. With the parametric design tool, Mitosis explores how buildings can grow, evolve, heal and self-sustain, similar to human bodies, as well as use biological metaphors to design buildings capable of regeneration, resilience, and self-sufficiency.

Due to its flexible structure and grid formation, Mitosis is able to host a variety of typologies that are customizable to the resident’s needs. It is applicable to diverse urban scales, ranging from off-grid single-family detached houses (30m2 up to a quadruplex 120m2 ) to high-density mixed-use urban clusters that incorporate public functions such as education, leisure, wellness, and retail. Mitosis generates experiential spaces that respect both the environment and its direct inhabitants, reconnecting both in a balanced ecosystem. By accommodating for all sizes, typologies, and performance levels, Mitosis moves beyond the basic concept of sustainable design and shifts towards a design that focuses on producing net-positive impacts on the environment. 

What will Smart Cities Look like in the Future?

Game-Changing, Intelligent Façade for 3deluxe’s New Building

In recent years much has been said about smart cities and smart buildings but people rarely understand what the label can actually mean in real terms. Together with the client FC Ingenieure in Karlsruhe and the technology company Merck, the architects at 3deluxe have succeeded in coming up with an attractive building ensemble with an interesting, innovative glass façade, which adds a fascinating new facet to intelligent architecture.

The trend in recent years towards cutting the expanses of windows in new buildings in order to save energy conflicts with people’s desire for bright, cheerful rooms flooded with light – and does not, therefore, represent real progress. Extensive glazing and the corresponding effect this has on the way people relate to their environment is an emotionally important aspect of well-being and thus always a significant factor in 3deluxe’s building concepts. Accordingly, intelligent glass is not only durable and efficient but also helpful in the innovative design of people-friendly architecture and one of the many technological innovations that will be necessary for planning smart cities in the future.

The Building’s Inner Workings: Smart, Digital, Convenient 

The office stories have a generous, open concept used largely rejects the idea of internal walls. The structure of the building invites a cooperative, non-hierarchical approach to work. Communicative shared spaces and areas for focused work unobtrusively alternate with one another and the offices are fitted out with furniture that is appropriate to its urban context. The concept of a paperless office allows for light, transparent furnishings and views of what is happening outside that are largely unimpeded. Thanks to an app specially designed by the developers, staff can control pretty well everything in the building. They can select their lunches from the in-house food bar or allow themselves to be guided through the surrounding park areas in their breaks.

To avoid plastic, water is provided from the well on the grounds, while the carpet is made of recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles. Modern heated and chilled ceilings ensure a pleasant ambient temperature in the offices. Cooling and heating are provided from a geothermal source that uses 24 probes that run to a depth of 130 meters and electricity is generated by a PV system on the roof, meaning that the building requires zero outside energy.

Consistent Corporate Design for Future-Oriented Engineering Company 

The developer and user of this building ensemble, which is very prominently situated in close proximity to one of Germany’s busiest autobahns, is the Karlsruhe-based FC Gruppe. This engineering company, which has a payroll of more than 300, works both for Porsche and on innovative, future-oriented hospital concepts. In light of this, the intention in 3deluxe’s building design was to combine innovation, sustainability, efficiency, and a meaningful arrangement, so as to create a distinctive composition.

A cube offered the most economical ratio between outside surface and volume, thus representing the most efficient building shape from a sustainability viewpoint. The FC Group’s two identical cubes are twisted in opposite directions and stand on a large floating podium under which an open underground parking lot is located. Because of the striking, organically-shaped, story-spanning windows, the two individual cubes merge, depending on perspective, to produce a sculptural overall effect with a varying, charming appearance.

The Building’s Inner Workings: Smart, Digital, Convenient 

The office stories have a generous, open concept used largely rejects the idea of internal walls. The structure of the building invites a cooperative, non-hierarchical approach to work. Communicative shared spaces and areas for focused work unobtrusively alternate with one another and the offices are fitted out with furniture that is appropriate to its urban context. The concept of a paperless office allows for light, transparent furnishings and views of what is happening outside that are largely unimpeded. Thanks to an app specially designed by the developers, staff can control pretty well everything in the building. They can select their lunches from the in-house food bar or allow themselves to be guided through the surrounding park areas in their breaks.

To avoid plastic, water is provided from the well on the grounds, while the carpet is made of recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles. Modern heated and chilled ceilings ensure a pleasant ambient temperature in the offices. Cooling and heating are provided from a geothermal source that uses 24 probes that run to a depth of 130 meters and electricity is generated by a PV system on the roof, meaning that the building requires zero outside energy.

Nature and the Protection of Endangered Species between a Commercial Park and the Autobahn 

The FC Campus building is situated in a semi-natural environment, between an industrial park, the autobahn feeder road, and a small tree and meadow biotope with a little stream, an environment very much deserving of protection. The architecture has adopted a circumspect approach to this residual natural environment. In order to avoid birds crashing into the generous glazing which stretches around corners the architect in cooperation with the Swiss ornithological station, Sempach came up with the kind of delicate, semitransparent pattern printed onto the glazing of which birds would be aware but which would not, at the same time, spoil the view.

The outside lighting was designed to take the form of insect-friendly LED lights with a low beam height and focused lighting on the surfaces, without light emission into the surroundings. The decision was taken not to install scenic lighting on the vegetation or the building shell. Throughout the entire site and in the open underground parking lot underneath the building’s floating base plate sealed areas have been reduced to a minimum, which means the roadways and the footpaths.


A Riparian District Renovated in Solid Wood

‘Archiborescence’ is a neologism, a combination of the words Architecture and Arborescence. It expresses Vincent Callebaut Architectures’ architectural leitmotif: ‘Transforming the city into an ecosystem, neighborhoods into forests and buildings into inhabited trees’.

In the heart of Lille, the project is inspired by the local biomimetic heritage called ‘Les Anciens Marais Vauban-Esquermes’ [The Ancient Marshes of Vauban-Esquermes]. This ecosystem produced its own energy by photosynthesis, emitted no pollution, and transformed all its waste into resources thanks to ‘virtuous circles’, all in a short circuit.

Instead of these old marshes, our urban intention is clearly to build a district in solid wood with a strong vegetal and aquatic character, reflecting the collective memory of the ecosystem, which has always enjoyed positive biodiversity. Our desire is to offer Lille a double green and blue landmark in the urban framework, at the intersection of the Vauban and Esquermes districts, between the Deûle River, the Universities, and the City Center.

Thanks to the Dynamic Thermal Simulation (DTS), the performance of the bio-based materials implemented, as well as the bioclimatic design choices and the integration of renewable energies; for the first time in the European Metropolis of Lille, we are aiming to achieve a building which may obtain the E4 level of the E+C label.

Concretely, Vincent Callebaut Architectures want the project to have a neutral carbon footprint and produce more energy than it consumes on a regular basis, even during phases of low renewable energy production. In addition, we plan to develop low technology for exchanging energy flow between offices and homes. As demonstrated by the DTS carried out in the upstream phase, the energy needs of these two programs make it possible to cover the needs over the entire typical day; the energy accumulated in offices at the end of the day being recycled during the night in residences.

As working towards a collective commitment to co-build a low-carbon city certified by the E+C label (level E4), the 5 pillars of the ‘Archiborescence’ project are as follows:


Before any architectural project commences, there is an urban challenge for residents. That of the Michel Servet site is twofold: to create a new urban space and energize the heart of the location by making it accessible to all.

First of all, at the Servet-Canteleu corner, the aim is to create a new generous and welcoming urban place in order to energize the district and articulate the flows that cross it. Vincent Callebaut Architectures designed this square, ideally south-west facing, to be as wide as possible, from facade to facade, eliminating the roundabout to increase the pedestrian walkways. The Jardins de Turenne square is also perfectly integrated into the design of the new square in order to unify them.

Then, the architect is interested in the concept of creating free and open heart within the block, where a green ‘trail of breadcrumbs’ weaves across the site from la Communauté des Filles de la Charité, la Cité Fauchille and the Rue Bailleux Square. The site being historically located along the Old Vauban-Esquermes Marshes (with fine winding canals in former times), it seemed opportune to reinterpret this ‘Genius Loci’ through a landscaped allegory proposing a garden crossed by small canals collecting rainwater and connecting the new square in the heart of the block. Between these canals, we will plant a range of riparian species to evoke a little more the ancient shores of the Marais d’Esquermes.

A haven of water and greenery, the heart of the block becomes a true ode to biodiversity where it is ideal to live, have fun, and meet your neighbors in a friendly atmosphere. It is accessible to all with special attention to people with disabilities. The space will be open to the public during the day, and then secured at night by a system of gates managed by a management service. A 12-meter-wide (39 ft) full-height path connects this natural setting with the new Servet/Canteleu square.

The streets, public square, and courtyard garden within the heart of the block are therefore connected by visual openings under high porches from rue de Turenne, the future Place, and rue Canteleu ensuring that the site is traversable for residents and users.

The architectural design also proposes the expansion of the perimeter walkways in rue de Turenne, rue Michel Servet, and rue de Canteleu. The facades are either installed so as to recreate the urban alignments or are set back to save all the existing large trees that border the site.

On Rue de Turenne for example, the facade of the rehabilitated stand is revived by a set of bow windows exploiting the potential offered by the removal of the existing building.


The permanent concern of the BECI Group is to develop a very rich multifunctional program in order to ensure a coherent and balanced social mix for the life of the district. The architectural challenge is to translate this programmatic richness into distinct functional entities that are perfectly connected and working together with each other. The prescriptions of the PLU (Local Urban Planning Plan) have therefore been applied to reflect this functional density with the most generous ceiling heights possible and various sizing templates.

The user is at the heart of the design of this urban complex. In this sense, the accommodation has dual orientation, comfortable surfaces, and large intimate outdoor spaces. The eco-design of the buildings optimizes acoustic comfort and air quality, and their design limits operating and co-ownership costs.

The use of alternative transport is facilitated and encouraged. The car parks created encourage co-sharing and electromobility via information and communication technologies. The project integrates high-quality two-wheeled parking spaces with intentional design. They are secure, comfortable (including for transport bikes), and equipped with maintenance services (repair/maintenance workshop, individual storage lockers for equipment, etc.).

The mixed program offers multiple housing opportunities (private home ownership, social rental opportunities, social sustainable home ownership, hotel opportunities) associated with a tertiary university residential opportunity. The whole benefits from sports areas (fitness room, dance/yoga/pilates room, climbing area) and services (shops and professional services) that are open to all.

The use of alternative transport is facilitated and encouraged. The car parks created encourage co-sharing and electromobility via information and communication technologies. The project integrates high-quality two-wheeled parking spaces with intentional design. They are secure, comfortable (including for transport bikes), and equipped with maintenance services (repair/maintenance workshop, individual storage lockers for equipment, etc.).

The mixed program offers multiple housing opportunities (private home ownership, social rental opportunities, social sustainable home ownership, hotel opportunities) associated with a tertiary university residential opportunity. The whole benefits from sports areas (fitness room, dance/yoga/pilates room, climbing area) and services (shops and professional services) that are open to all.

Built from trees cut and harvested nearby, within the Lille region, in the heart of eco-responsible forests – where each cut tree equates to a replanted tree – the ‘Archiborescence’ project will therefore be a real carbon sequestration well. In fact, when trees grow with natural photosynthesis, the stored carbon is ‘trapped’ in solid wood and is not released into the atmosphere. For 1 ton of wood produced, about 0.9 tons of carbon is confined.

This means we are talking about a building with a negative carbon footprint! In addition, the project advocatesthe use of bio-based materials for facades, insulation (interior and exterior), and interior fittings (50% of materials will be labeled C2C) as well as an ‘Upcycling’ approach which is implemented in demolished buildings to strive for the zero-waste objective



The metamorphosis project is organized around the heart of the city block where it is most densely vegetated in the open ground. This basic principle is combined with the various techniques of vegetating the building (intensive, semi-intensive, extensive). These are deployed throughout the program on balconies, roofs, and patios. This intensive revegetation has the following objectives:

– The creation of a refreshing urban island

– The repatriation of biodiversity in the heart of the city

– Tainwater recovery, and its phyto-purification (100% Water Footprint approach)

– The development of Urban Agriculture and co-gardening in permaculture

Urban farms have been created on the roof of the former high school’s existing stand with, in particular, over an area of 300m² (3229 sq. ft), a collective approach in neighborhood networks (promoting social inclusion and intergenerational solidarity). This mode of operation makes it possible to complete the professional production system which will also be installed on this roof. The area dedicated to establishing this professional partner is 500 m² (5382 sq. ft), which will benefit from a profitable business model producing 25 kilos of fruit and vegetables per m² (55 lbs. per 10 sq. ft) per year. Wildlife lodges, insect and bat hotels, as well as nesting boxes are integrated into the project to strengthen the ecological corridor.

In terms of water management, all stormwater buffering is done within the plot itself. Roof storage areas provide gravity watering (via rain chains) to landscaped facades and balconies. The central marsh optimizes the infiltration and recovery of rainwater. It is designed in such a way as to avoid any stagnant water and to ensure autonomous management and maintenance. Rainwater is reused for watering all the green spaces and to supply the toilets of tertiary programs.


After choosing solid wood construction to drastically reduce the carbon footprint of the project during its construction/renovation, our efforts have focused on the integration of passive systems and renewable energies to reduce its carbon footprint during its operation.

First of all, all buildings benefit from double insulation – interior and exterior – from natural materials such as straw, hemp, and cellulose wadding. In addition, green roofs and balconies make it possible to control solar power generated and take advantage of the evapotranspiration of plants to cool the apparent temperature by 2 to 5 degrees Celsius.

To ensure natural ventilation in each apartment, wind chimneys cross the vertical circulation cores throughout their entire height. These chimneys suck in the air that passes under the foundations where the thermal inertia of the earth is constant all year round at 18 degrees Celsius (64° F). This naturally seasonally conditioned air is then forced into the apartments like in a termite mound. The curved facades also favor air circulation and the dispersion of pollutants.

On the roofs of office and residential buildings, solar photovoltaic and thermal canopies produce electricity stored in hydrogen cells for auto-consumption, and domestic hot water redistributed in a virtuous cycle in bathrooms and kitchens. To top it off, a farm of 30 magnetic levitation axial wind turbines also generates electricity in situ without any noise pollution on the roof of the co-living residence.

In the heart of Lille, the ‘Archiborescence’ project advocates the reconciliation of the City and the Countryside through timber, elegant, and frugal architecture. It is now a question of producing as close as possible to the consumers and building with the minimum of resources in order to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. As part of the new circular ‘regenerative’ economy, the renovation of this riparian district – built, clad and insulated with wood – is a prototype of resilient and agile town planning respecting the four pillars of the ecological city of the future, namely: energy self-sufficiency (heat, refrigeration, and electricity); revegetation of buildings and the development of urban agriculture; alternative soft transport focused on pedestrian and two-wheel traffic; social inclusion through flexible spaces with high use opportunities, and shared between inhabitants and solidarity services.

Vincent Callebaut Architectures

BIG reveals masterplan for BiodiverCity, three artificial water lily islands off the shore of Penang Island, Malaysia

BIG reveals masterplan for BiodiverCity, three artificial water lily islands off the shore of Penang Island, Malaysia

BIG, the studio founded by Bjarke Ingels, with the Hijjas studios, as a local partner, and Ramboll, for engineering and project management, have been selected as winners to design a masterplan for Penang South Islands, providing Penangites with approximately 4.6 km of public beaches, 600 acres of parks and a 25 km waterfront.

BiodiverCity masterplan supports the Panang2030 vision with a clear focus on livability, on stimulating a socially and economically inclusive development, and on environmental sustainability for future generations. BiodiverCity will be the new sustainable, global destination where cultural, ecological and economic growth is secured and where people and nature co-exist in one of the most biodivers places on the planet at the southern shore of Penang Island.

Penang’s vast biodiversity spans various topographies and protected environments which in recent years have seen its coastal zones and natural habitats disrupted by urban developments. In contrast, BiodiverCity is concived as an Urban Mosaic of three diverse islands, and set of urban guidelines for mixing programs, addressing pedestrian and mobility networks, building sustainability and harvesting resources.

The three islands bring together mixed-use districts of 15,000 to 18,000 residents across 50 to 500 acres, and continuous 50 to 100m buffer around each district, establishing habitat connectivity and supporting edge ecologies in reserves, parks, corridors and urban plazas.

The Channels, BiodiverCity’s first island, is constructed in three complementary phases: in Phase 1, Active Destinations include a wave pool and technology park; in Phase 2 a Civic Heart establishes governance and research institutions in the area; and Phase 3, a cultural Coast builds upon the heritage and vibrant creative energy of Penang’s George Town to create  a regional and international draw.

As the heart of the district, the Channels’ 500-acre digital park includes spaces for research, development and local business opportunities. Malaysia’s newest public destination will be the future home for conferences, education centres and family-oriented park where locals and guests can explore the world of technology, robotics and virtual reality.

The building in BiodiverCity will be designed to prform efficiently and will to a large extent be constructed by low-carbon materials such as bamboo and Malaysian timber in combination with green concrete, a sustainable alternative comprised of industrial waste and recycled materials

By encouraging green roofs, facades, public and private open spaces, the islands can form a nearly continuous habitat mosaic feeding back into the forest, beaches, riparian zones and estuaries at island’s edges.

The Laguna, BiodiverCity’s westernmost island, is a oasis for ecological living, organized around a central marina. Eight smaller islands form a miniature archipelago, where floating, stilted and terraced housing takes advantage of the natural setting.

A web of ecological corridors connects forest reserves to coastal beaches while supporting habitats and communities across the islands. Within human-populated areas, animals are given safe passage through the continuous canopy and waterways, and within natural habitats, people can safely access elevated boardwalks.

BiodiverCity supports a water, air and land-based autonomous network, aiming for a car free environment where streets serve as a safe and welcoming thoroughfare for bikers and pedestrian. Districts are efficiently connected below platforms to increase the efficiency of goods, services and regional mobility, while maximizing pedestrian safety throughout the public realm.

BIG is the architecture practice of Danish architect Ingels, which was founded in 2005. Today it has studios in Copenhagen, New York, London and Barcelona.

Elsewhere, BIG is working a masterplan for the “city of the future” with Toyota, which will be built beside Mount Fuji in Japan.