The Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico’s (Museum of the City of Mexico) current exhibition (closing tomorrow — get there while you can!) comes from the world-renowned architectural team of WOHA, so named for the initials of both vanguard architects, Wong Men Summ and Richard Hassell.
Part of the current Mextrópoli 2017, Architecture and Cities Festival, the museum’s Garden City Mega City — Urban Ecosystems of WOHA exhibit explores the work of the Singapore-based pair.
WOHA have built over 50 projects in their decades-long cooperation, finding new ways to incorporate sustainable design into radical architecture. There is a strong emphasis on biodiversity and the inclusion of nature within man-made structures, and making use of traditional methods of ventilation to cool buildings in the tropical heat of southeast Asia.
The exhibit includes many models of both built and unbuilt buildings from WOHA to show how the natural world is embraced in their designs.
WOHA’s structures are very much influenced by the surroundings they are built in. The verdant natural growth that accompanies weather in the tropics is clearly seen in the buildings’ designs.
Vines wrap around load-bearing columns to create the impression of enormous trees growing straight through these giant structures, which, combined with the ultra-modern styling of the building as a whole, fit superbly with the surrounding area.
Highlights include the still under construction BRAC University in Bangladesh, which will cater for over 10,000 students and offer them naturally lit outdoor study spaces with cover from the monsoon rains and bright daily sun, and Bangkok’s already built Met building, which uses “Vertical Breezeways” and a staggered block arrangement to optimize the flow of air through the building and reduce the use of electric power.
Insistence on bringing the natural world into buildings is something that would be welcome in Mexico City, where dusty gray concrete blocks are too-often the default design.
Hopefully, we’ll see more green buildings soon.
Garden City Mega City — Urban Ecosystems of WOHA is showing until March 17th at the Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Entrance is free.