The increasing one way flow of energy from nature to the build environment is challenging the biological cycles of the natural world. This is felt in cities like Shanghai where the connection to nature is almost lost, the use of renewable energy sources is absent and heavy pollution is part of people’s everyday life.

TransPLANTation is a vision for a better and more sustainable future in Shanghai and is developed by NoMadSpaceLab in collaboration with Estonian architect Helina Lass as an entry for the international competition “RE-THINKING SHANGHAI 2012.  


The transplantation will provide reclamation of the city, natural cycles, water systems and the spatial environment in a sustainable way through a complex network of biological, chemical and spatial processes deriving from and through nature. Hence the transplantation will link various natural cycles to architecture and people and form a whole new integrated system of city and nature.

The project site is located at the intersection of Baiyu Lu and Guangfu Lu and represents a characteristic urban setting in Shanghai. A contemporary gated compound with residential high-rise towers as opposed to a dense cluster of old narrow streets surrounded by low-rise buildings. The segregation among people from the lively narrow streets and the empty large spaces around the residential towers is underlined by the enormous height difference between the buildings. Through the transplantation the two areas will be physically connected and spatial quality will be improved through the implant’s multiple functions as greenery and urban furniture.


The various elements of the plant each have different bio-chemical functions. The vegetal skin wraps the buildings and creates suitable microclimatic conditions for the indoor spaces according to various seasons. At the same time the large EPIDERMIS surface cleans the air pollution through a series of chemical and biological processes. The ABSORBER is cleaning polluted soil and simultaneously managing and processing waste produced in the area. The COROLLA works as main collector of both rainwater and solar rays. The solar collection is transformed into energy through biological processes taking place inside the plant. The RHIZOME is rooted in Suzhou Creek and cleans the polluted water through chemical processes, which concurrently produces energy. All the energy, water and waste produced and processed in the various cycles and systems of the plant are connected and distributed through the plant’s TRACHEIDs.

~ by NoMadSpaceLab on June 17, 2012.

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