Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Rosyth Renewable Energy Plant in Rosyth, UK by Gordon Murray Architects
April 12th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
The concept design for Rosyth draws inspiration from the existing and former uses around the proposed site, a former Naval Dockyard, in order to reflect the industrial character of the surrounding area and create a strong connection with past feats of marine engineering. It functions at long range as a gateway within the setting of the Forth estuary. At the medium range, careful manipulation of the contrast between solid, void and transparency help define the massing of the Renewable Energy Plant in an appropriate manner, opening it up to the Estuary to allow a clear understanding of the processes undertaken within the Renewable Energy Plant while at close range, the design of the surface texture is considered carefully to create an architectural response which is robust and appropriate for the setting.
The initial move of the design approach is to unify the various elements of the plant through the use of a common material, resulting in a stepped mass looking southwards over the estuary and towards the bridges. In order to create a gateway element on the skyline, and also to reduce the apparent bulk of the Renewable Energy Plant from the east and west, the upper setback level of the boiler house is opened up to form a translucent volume, creating a form evocative of a submarine conning tower, or aircraft carrier control tower.
Solid elements of the boiler house are articulated by the creation of vertical strip windows, fragmenting the overall scale into a series of smaller bays.
The skin surrounding the Renewable Energy Plant is envisaged as a series of panels of varying sizes reminiscent of a ship’s hull plates. These are comprised of materials commonly found in the industrial landscape of the port – profiled metal sheet in a subtle variety of patterns and tones. Variations between panels could allow the skin to avoid being read as a single, monolithic object at close range, while the use of light metallic colours will help the Renewable Energy Plant to reflect the colour of the sky under a range of different weather conditions.
There is widespread recognition of the need to develop Renewable Energy technologies at both national and international level in order to address the impact of climate change and ensure a stable domestic energy supply. The EU Renewable Energy Directive and the UK Climate Change Act commit us to achieving an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and reductions on CO2 emissions of at least 26% by 2020 from 1990 baseline levels.
At the same time there is increased awareness and concern over the physical realities of the technologies and facilities necessary to achieve these targets. New proposals come under ever increasing scrutiny to ensure their impact on the environment and visual setting is fully considered, aiming to deliver a high standard of design for the benefit of local communities and to mitigate the effect of new plant on sensitive visual receptors.
Good design can play an important role in providing a bridge between these aspects. It can enhance visual appearance, improve site layout, and be a powerful means of communication between all parties engaged in the consenting process.
Gordon Murray Architects were commissioned by Forth Energy, a joint venture between Forth Ports Plc and SSE (Scottish Southern Energy) to develop conceptual design proposals for a series of new Biomass Renewable Energy Plants at their ports of Dundee, Grangemouth, Rosyth and Leith in support of Section 36 Applications. The projects have an estimated combined construction value of over £1 billion.
It is hoped the Renewable Energy Plants will be operational by 2015.
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