A New 5 Part Documentary Series on Sustainable Building

While the Deutsche Welle magazine programs go on summer break during July, we wanted to invite you to share our new 5-part documentary series on sustainable building. They are all currently available on Pegmedia.org at http://www.pegmedia.org/index.php?q=msvr/showall/574/detail.

Ecopia - Intelligent Building, Sustainable Living - A five part documentary, part of Deutsche Welle's "In Focus" series

The architecture of the future is here, now. One key aspect of this new kind of architecture is "sustainability" - and it's become a huge challenge for architects and engineers all over the world.

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Ecopia - Intelligent Building, Sustainable Living.

In the five parts of the documentary series ECOPIA, we show you their visionary projects. But what exactly does "sustainability" mean, as far as 21st century architecture is concerned? The definition is long and complex. It includes the use of environment-friendly construction materials, the conservation of building fabric, the use of energy-efficient technology, and the impact that the project will have on the local culture.

The Dortmund-based Gerber architecture firm is redesigning the King Fahad national library in Saudi Arabia to make it more energy efficient. But sustainable construction is still a relatively new phenomenon in the Middle East and other parts of the world. It's often difficult for architects to convince clients that these projects are worthwhile. In New York, we meet Blake Kurasek - an architect who's come up with an alternative design for a skyscraper that would be used exclusively for growing food crops. Kurasek plans to build the 120-storey "eco-tower" right in the middle of Manhattan.

In Asia, Singapore is on the cutting edge of sustainable construction. The architects at the WOHA firm have incorporated extensive "green space" into their projects. Their use of vegetation to enhance the environmental profile of residential- and hotel towers has been nothing less than revolutionary. In Bali, WOHA designed a luxury resort that was built exclusively with locally-available construction materials. For example, the facades of the villas feature recycled wooden telegraph poles and railway.

China is also moving toward sustainable construction. In fact, it's specifically mentioned in the government's current five-year economic plan. A new international conference center and opera house in the seaport of Dalian was designed by Austrian architect Wolf D. Prix. The facility will keep energy use to an absolute minimum - in part, through the use of thermal energy, natural ventilation and solar power. It's a futuristic concept that's aimed at allowing the structure to generate as much of its own energy as possible.

In these five half-hour programs, Deutsche Welle presents this unique view into how architects are changing the way we live and survive on the planet.

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Here are the individual program descriptions:

Part 1: The Sky's the Limit

Panama: One Of The First Green Office Towers In Latin America
Never before have so many skyscrapers been planned or under construction all over the world at once. Now a new generation of ultra-modern skyscrapers has been designed to help revive city centers, spare the climate and check urban sprawl. Building "green” has now become an economic necessity, most especially in Asia’s burgeoning megalopolises. The key question here is whether it is possible to build a high-rise that is both green and efficient. The first certified sustainable office high-rise is currently going up in Panama City. From Vertical Farming in New York City to the "Garden City” of Singapore, environmental skyscrapers are swiftly becoming one of today’s key technologies.
Length: 26:30

Part 2: Modern Culture Temples

Almost every country sets great store by galleries and venues for cultural events. They are important competitive factors in the international tourism market. Their architecture is meant to be attractive and imaginative, and sustainability is becoming increasingly important as well. This report presents innovative building projects from three countries: Saudi Arabia is renovating an old national library building to make it more ecological; China will use seawater to cool a new opera house; and a new museum and community center in the Spanish city of Seville is the world’s largest wooden structure.
Length 26:30

Part 3: Tourism Goes Green

More and more architects around the world are designing hotels that meet the demand for sustainable tourism. More and more travelers are considering environmental friendliness when they book hotel rooms or lodgings - sometimes this is even the most important aspect. These changes in attitudes are undeniable, and the travel industry is responding. But what does the industry understand by "sustainable”? In this part of our series, architects present their visions for the Swiss Alps, the Indonesian island of Bali and the eastern African nation of Rwanda.
Length 26:30

Part 4: Eco-Cities

Hamburg’s HafenCity and Tianjin’s Eco-city in China were conceived as model cities for sustainable, environment-friendly building. In northern Germany, ten new housing developments are taking shape on Europe’s largest inner-city construction site, designed to create a vibrant urban atmosphere on the old Elbe River waterfront. The Tianjin Eco-city in eastern China, on the other hand, is going up on virgin land. This satellite city is seen as a test for cutting urban Chinese energy consumption.
Length: 26:30

Part 5: Worlds of Knowledge

School buildings made of locally sourced clay in Burkino Faso with a sophisticated roof design and energy-free ventilation. A university campus half-underground in South Korea blending into the surrounding park, and a virtual computer-designed science laboratory in Germany researching future working environments: three projects for education and sustainability covered in a special feature report that also shows the architects at work.
Length 26:30