Virtual pavilion looks into the future of sustainable design

The built environment is responsible for consuming more than a third of global energy and generates 40% of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions. To highlight the impact of sustainable design for local and global contexts, the AECOM Visualization and Virtual Reality team, in collaboration with the exhibition designers at the Install Archive, designed a virtual pavilion called Build Better Now for COP26. The public can access the suite from their phone or PC through the Build Better Now website.

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The immersive virtual reality exhibition showcases 17 green building proposals from around the world that provide innovative solutions to the rapidly changing climate and environmental degradation. The projects presented were selected through an international open invitation and were selected based on the complexity of the eco-friendly schemes and the positive impact they provide to people and the surrounding environment. The aim of the initiative is to support the industry to continue building more sustainable spaces and cities around the world.

Related: The Belgian Pavilion Biophilic features futuristic sustainable design

Outdoor multi-level bamboo building with terraces

The fa├žade of the pavilion includes vaulted exhibition spaces set in a lush forest connected to a central axis with walkways. In the center of the main dome is The Fountain of Circular Recovery, a 3D installation by Make Architects that includes a short video showing how a circular economy can be achieved by 2050.

Night shot of a 3D printed mud dome house

The seventeen projects featured in the pavilion cover various aspects of eco-design. Some of the designs feature locally sourced materials, including the University of East Anglia’s Foundation Center, which uses straw and reeds, as well as a school made of bamboo in Indonesia. Some of the projects balance local materials with modern building methods such as TECLA, a 3D-printed dwelling built from extruded raw clay in the Lombardy region of Italy.

Two-storey apartment building with side staircase and colorful mural

While some projects modify existing spaces, such as the renovated housing collection across the UK and the urban eco-village in Brazil, others provide innovative design solutions to suit their geographical contexts. These include CLT bridges that can be easily adapted to suit infrastructure requirements, a mass timber market building in Kenya, group houses in Pakistan, and comprehensively designed housing for vulnerable individuals in New Zealand.

Presentation of three storey apartment buildings with wooden barriers in the neighborhood with lush vegetation

The pavilion’s large, energy-efficient schemes include the largest Passivhaus-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere (located in Australia) and an innovation zone in Italy that runs entirely on renewable energy. Other projects in this high-completion category include a proposed cultural center in Sweden, which would be one of the tallest wooden buildings in the world, as well as Norway’s largest energy-positive commercial building, which supplies surplus energy to buildings and powers around electric public transport buses.

Lush green mountain area.

Besides featured projects, Build Better Now hosts events, tours, keywords, roundtable discussions and even includes downloadable content to educate and inspire audiences through exemplary green solutions. This interactive educational initiative is a step in the right direction, as the built environment plays a pivotal role in supporting the global transition to a carbon-neutral economy.

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Images provided by AECOM, PT Bambu, Iago Corazza, ZED PODS Limited, Context Architects, Art impression, Crookes and Jackson, Chris Coupland

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