It's sort of an environmentalist's dream. Forty-five gorgeous villas built on a wasteland that are so impossibly eco-friendly that they produce more energy than they consume in a given year. Ideal as it sounds, Vincent Callebaut has designed just that.
They call it Flavors Orchard. Planned for the city of Kunming in Southwest China-assuming it can ever find funding, which is a big assumption-this 95,000 square foot complex is meant to integrate tightly with the natural environment. Indeed, Kunming would be built on an old industrial wasteland, which is part of what would make this sustainable village so impressive. The architects hope to share the innovations mentioned in their designs with the rest of China-and the world.
So about those innovations. The 45 plus-energy villas would be built around a community orchard meant to produce organic food right in the middle of town. The buildings themselves would all come with massive triple-glazed windows that cut down on the need for light bulbs and air conditioners, while solar photovoltaic and solar thermal panels on the roofs store up energy to power electric cars that are stored underground to keep the pedestrian zones clear. All water would be recycled into lagoons for agricultural irrigation and even toilet flushing.
The villas are envisioned with three distinct designs. The Mobius Villa (above) design features an endless ribbon with solar panels and vegetation on the roof that twists around two patios, one with plants and the other with water.
The Mountain Villa (above) rendering looks a lot like it sounds. These hulking structures form a 180-degree arch that sort of resembles a Chinese fan and feature a double skin of wood and photovoltaic glass panels. These panels are also filled with algae that produces bio-hydrogen.
The Shell Villa (above) design is essentially one giant windmill built on six stainless steel pillars and equipped with an axial wind turbine. The inside features panoramic views and three patios wrapped around wooden beams. They also sort of look like wine decanters.
It all looks very, very cool. The challenge now is just to find somebody to build it; this eco-village looks very, very expensive. For now, we'll just file this one away with the rest of Vincent Callebaut's amazing eco-friendly ideas