Are we facing a world of endless possibilities with the age of the Smart building?

We are now on the verge of creating buildings where every single structural element has an interactive nature.

The previous demands of design and construction and a need for shelter have now been surpassed.

Smart buildings not only offer huge benefits to their occupants but now cleverly maximise productivity, efficiency and importantly minimise environmental impact.

The possibilities are endless now that the age of the Smart building is here

Kirsty Hammond Kirsty Hammond Editor of Specificier Review

Now that is smart

Deloitte’s new headquarters in Amsterdam has been hailed as “the smartest building in the world” and in conjunction with this, the greenest.

It has been designed with the maximum levels of sustainability.

It’s not just technology that is a consideration for intelligent construction. Environmental factors and green architecture play a part too.

The building itself features an ecological corridor for use by local insect, bat and bird populations. The path of vegetation supports local wildlife and birdhouses and bat boxes provide shelter and space for nesting.

The Edge is also covered with solar panels that produce more energy than they consume. The building stores rainwater which is then used to irrigate the gardens and for flushing the toilets. An additional reservoir works as an aquifer thermal energy system and circulates hot or cold water for cooling and heating.

An interactive future

The entire building is interactive and as an employee at the Edge both you and the systems are continuously monitored and analysed via thousands of sensors.

These sensors track lighting levels, temperature, movement, humidity and carbon dioxide levels. This enables the building to react to its user’s needs and memorise their preferences.

In addition to this amazing technology the building connects with each and every employee via a smart phone App. It knows who you are, where you live, and how you are getting to work!

As you arrive at work image recognition identifies you and allocates a parking space where you can begin charging your electric car.

Via wall mounted screens and QR codes you as an employee can even select recipes and ingredients for your evening meal. The groceries are then delivered by bicycle before the end of the day to reduce the need for supermarket visits and travel.

The on-site gym also harnesses the energy generated during exercise and is used to power various areas of the building. The advantages are endlessly providing both huge resource and human efficiency.

Refurbing the future

There are many important economic and social reasons driving our smart technology.

In contrast to the Edge, Glumac in Shanghai had the chance to move location into a 100-year-old mansion.

The renovation and refit concentrated on creating visual connections to nature, incorporating natural shapes and including dynamic and diffused light into the space.

But the paramount objective was to promote healthy indoor air in stark contrast to the high levels of pollution experienced outdoors.

The use of colour was important and the colour green was utilised to bring a freshness to the building. Apple, lime and grass were the inspiration for colour.

Green was used throughout to create a visual cohesiveness. Even the screen savers connect with the plants to form a calming space.

Every desk inside has a view to the outside. Where possible floor to ceiling glass windows and doors were used. The terrace and courtyard include a leafy canopy of mature trees and planting.

Calming effect of nature

The interior continues the inclusion of nature and employees benefit from the calming visual effects of green wall planting, whilst the plants improve the air quality. The living wall is dominated by the inclusion of air filtering plants.

A striking feature of the office are the Kvadrat cloud installations made from triangular textile panels arranged throughout the space in three dimensional panels.

The panels form a variety of organic shapes and cultural symbols but also provide a clever sound absorbing function.

Cloud motifs frequently appear in Chinese art and architecture. Here in Glumac they are to be seen etched into the entrance doors.

Natural daylight fills the offices and the inclusion of greenery creates a biophillic environment.

A concept that is used within the building industry to allow occupants to connect with direct nature, indirect nature, and light whilst protecting them from the poor air quality outdoors.

Endless possibilities

A true smart environment is one where technology works hand in hand with people, holistic smart technologies and building design are to be an essential requirement in tomorrow’s construction.

Wellbeing and mental health too. It is no longer enough for our built environment to provide simply shelter and warmth.

The age of the Smart building is here and the possibilities are endless.

Kirsty Hammond is publisher and editor of Specifier Review