Green architecture means more than energy-saving architecture. Green architecture is a constantly developing, broad scope concept. As Christoph Ingenhoven puts it: “We have realized buildings all over the world according to the highest certification standards. But we aim for a holistic commitment that reaches further. The challenge is to top the minimal required standards. What we also have to ask ourselves when building: What’s going on with spatial psychology? How do people feel in spaces? What can I do so that people feel good, feel safe and don’t get sick? Or can I even use architecture to heal people? All that is meant when we speak of supergreen®-architecture.
Holistic approach and responsibility
supergreen®, a term that ingenhoven associates has not only coined but also copyrighted, is a comprehensive concept. It entails an awareness of energy and resources, both in the design, construction and operation and in the realization of the building and its use. It includes the primary and secondary energy levels of the materials used, the equipment and building process and the use of resources over the building’s lifetime. It may, for example, mean the use of concrete whose components are comprised almost completely of recyclable material, and in turn, is also later recyclable. supergreen® is also comprehensive, as it combines innovative technical quality with an aesthetic ambition, based on clear, flexible and rational lay-outs and a modern, elegant design including pleasant and regenerative interiors. An aesthetically appealing interior design clearly counts as a relevant health feature.
This holistic approach is also an expression of a responsible attitude towards problems such as climate change and resource depletion. supergreen® is the answer that architects can and should give to the issue of globally limited natural resources. As buildings in many countries account for about one third of all consumed resources, sustainable building can make a crucial contribution to improving situation worldwide. In this light, it should be mentioned that supergreen® architecture entails a flexible architectural approach that provides solutions for all regions, climate zones and specific climatic conditions. This also holds for difficult tropical conditions, such as in Singapore.
To contribute to solving worldwide environmental problems is one thing. But the supergreen®-idea also reflects people’s growing demand for healthy environments in daily life. This includes healthy workstations, healthy rooms for study and research, healthy hotels and wellness resorts (of course), healthy shopping malls and transportation facilities such as train stops. Fresh air, a healthy interior climate, brightness, tranquility and a view we can enjoy from our workstation, spaces for communication and exchange and an appealing interior design. All of these conditions are desirable in every spatial situation of life. Therefore, the concept of supergreen®-architecture pursues a thoroughly humanist goal: It aims at an architecture that meets and addresses specific human needs.
As today’s demand for a healthy environment grows—especially healthy office environments—it is evident that for a growing number of international companies, sustainability is an important aspect of their corporate identities. Virtually all the office buildings that ingenhoven associates has planned over the last 30 years underline these ambitions. Each project—in some way or another–has aimed to raise the level of user comfort. Sometimes even blurring the traditional distinctions and borders between nature and the world of work, supergreen®-architecture aims to recreate some of the natural qualities and to integrate them in the working environment - stimulating and enhancing people’s creative potential in different ways.
supergreen® designs are not restricted to the world of work. When comparing streets and public places of today’s cities with those of some 30 or 40 years ago, it becomes clear that greenness is one of the most striking differences. Urban green today offers many new possibilities for the development of our cities. Take, for example ingenhoven associates’ proposal for the design for Germany’s most exhibited public place, the “Schlossplatz” in downtown Berlin. The design envisaged a New York-like central park as the city’s green center and as a green alternative to the reconstruction of the historic castle. Currently, ingenhoven associates is also designing the urban center of the office’s home town of Düsseldorf (Kö-Bogen II) in a way that integrates green elements in an optically radically new urban concept. All this makes clear: supergreen® is a concept for worldwide city development and one for spaces both outside and inside buildings.