Saturday, 23 March 2013

Help me out here: does this exist?

I have written before about my periodic, perverse Google searches for the world's most sustainable building.  This month, the front runner appeared to be the Wuhan New Energy Center (also called the Wuhan Energy Flower), in China.

My problem is that the earliest article to which I linked was the announcement of the competition winners, Netherlands-based firm Grontmij, in collaboration with Soeters Van Eldonk architects, in June 2010, while the latest verbatim copy of the same press release dates from almost exactly two years later.  The Sustainable Cities Calendar from 2011 claims construction began in November 2010, but even for China, that would have been fast tracking.

I have used any possible search terms to get me to something concrete, including filtering for actual photographs.  All I get for my efforts are innumerable instances where the photorealistic visualizations are described as if they were taken by a camera.  The Pinterest boards about Architecture, in particular, seem to live in an alternative reality where photographs and renderings seem indiscriminately interchangeable.

This post I am not even trying to add any particular original insight to any discussion of this building.  My purpose is very simple:

Is there anyone out there who can point me at any evidence, of what happened to this utopian vision?


minshan huang (may) said...

Wuhan New Energy Institute is currently under construction which began on 28/10/2010. It is the head project in a government urban planning of Wuhan Future City.

The building is entitled with Energy Flower, since "the influence of sun, wind and water are integrated into the design of the flower-shaped building" explained by Jos van Eldonk, architect for the project.

The main office building is located in the middle, having a shape inspired on the callas lily flower, and surrounded by five laboratory buildings that are in the form of leaves.

The roof of the 'flower' consists mainly of solar panels to generate renewable electricity. Rainwater is collected in the 'bowl' and used to supply water to the building. And the edge of the 'bowl' is the sunroof that designed to heat and cool the building. The 'pistil' consists of wind turbines to collect renewable energy as well.

The building is expected to have zero carbon emissions and zero artificial energy consumption. It is one of the most sustainable building in the world.

A photograph showing Wuhan New Energy Institute construction progress is taken on 12/03/2013
Please visit this link : or

Steve King said...

Thank you for that. Solves a mystery. The construction photos make it look much bigger than the renderings. It will be fascinating to see whether performance data shows up once the building is finished.