April 27, 2011

Setting the Green Standard in... Shopping Malls...

Think green architecture and a shopping mall is usually the last place that you will have in mind. But Mexico has its mind firmly set on ecology of late, particularly after hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Cancún, last year. Thus, when Mexico City planning officials highlighted the need for another mall, they had a very definite caveate. It had to be green. It had to be energy efficient. The result has shaken the world of corporate building.

Santa Fe City Center Mall

Santa Fe City Center Mall

What do you mean, you can't see? The shopping mall is right there!

KMD Architects have won the Design Competition for an Urban Park, along with a contract for constructing their mall. It will be located in the Sante Fe area of Mexico City. However, it's a mall with a difference. It will be built entirely underground, with the roof serving as a park. Grassy areas, shrubs and flowers will be interpersed with colorful trees. There will be jogging paths and cycle routes, alongside a performance area for street theater.

An extensive range of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, with the car parking to facilitate them, will all be subterranean. However, don't think that will make it gloomy. Light is an integral part of the design; and natural light at that.

Santa Fe City Center Mall

Santa Fe City Center Mall

KMD explained that the large, conical skylights, penetrating deep into the mall, will provide all of the natural light necessary for the whole building. In addition, the fact that it is underground, with a grassy roof, will insulate it. This drastically reduces the need for air conditioning, as a comfortable temperature will be maintained throughout.

Of course some electricity will still be requred, but the architects have thought of that too. They will be fitting solar panels for the mall's energy needs.

Santa Fe City Center Mall

The result will be one of Mexico's most sustainable buildings to date. Construction will start later this year.


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