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Virtual pavilion tackling global sustainability themes for COP26 opens to the public

Build Better Now, an immersive virtual reality exhibition showcasing global ideas for a more sustainable built environment, has officially opened to the public.

The virtual pavilion, designed by AECOM in collaboration with Install Archive, features a series of dome-shaped exhibition spaces amongst treetops and connected by walkways.

Build Better Now, the COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion
Photo credit: AECOM

The exhibition showcases 17 sustainable built projects selected from an international Open Call. Build Better Now also features a new 3D installation and accompanying film conceived for COP26 by Make Architects.

“With COP26, the world is ready to tackle climate change and the built environment has a crucial part to play. We know why we must accelerate climate action and Build Better Now shows how we can get there. Everyone on the planet has a stake in our buildings and cities,” saysJulie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at the UK Green Building Council. “I invite everyone to take inspiration from Build Better Now as a global showcase of pioneering solutions to climate change and hope that it supports the industry to create more sustainable buildings, places and cities of the future.”

Alongside the exhibition, Build Better Now hosts an events series comprising a programme of tours and talks, keynotes, panel discussions and other downloadable content.

Make Architects was selected to design a sustainability focused 360° installation and accompanying film that acts as a centrepiece within the pavilion. ‘The Fountain of Circular Recovery’ highlights opportunities for recovery, reuse and recycling in the built environment to establish a truly circular economy.

The Fountain of Circular Recovery (Year: 2030)
Photo credit: Make Architects

Pioneering projects include a cultural centre in Sweden that will be one of the world’s tallest timber buildings; the largest Certified Passivhaus building in the Southern hemisphere in Australia; a 100-hectare innovation district in Italy digitally mapped and powered by 100 per cent renewable energy sources; and the largest new build energy-positive office building in Norway, which supplies surplus renewable energy to neighbouring buildings as well as powering electric buses.

Buildings constructed using natural local materials range from a UK university building utilising thatch and reed; a school in Indonesia built with bamboo and the first 3D-printed sustainable homes made entirely from raw clay – perfectly balancing ultra-modern construction techniques with historic, traditional materials.

Build Better Now – Singita, Kwitonda Lodge, Rwanda
Photo credit: Adriaan Louw

Projects protecting and enhancing nature include a government-led eco-tourism initiative to restore a national park in Rwanda and a high-tech rewilding project, restoring native forest and peatlands and reintroducing locally extinct species to 100 acres of land in the Scottish Highlands, which will form a template for similar nature regeneration globally.

As well as government-funded research into retrofitting Scotland’s iconic but hard-to-heat tenement homes, the exhibition features a favela in Brazil and affordable sustainable housing solutions in the UK, New Zealand and Pakistan. Also included are an adaptable cross laminated timber bridge concept designed for a circular economy, as well as an initiative to develop a sustainable mass timber building market building in East Africa.

The projects selected for Build Better Now at the COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion are:

• The Fountain of Circular Recovery (central installation) by Make Architects

• Bridges of Laminated Timber (BoLT), Amsterdam, Netherlands, by Arup, Schaffitzel, Heijmans

• The 5 Systems Programme: Nga Kāinga Anamata, Auckland, New Zealand, by Kainga Ora, Context Architects, Resilio Studio, Robert Bird Group, Holmes Fires, Aurecon, Ortus International, BRANZ

• Heart of School, Green School Bali, Bali, Indonesia, by John Hardy, PT Bambu, Heru Wijayanto, Joerg Stamm, Gadjah Mada University

• Hope Rise, Bristol, England, by ZED PODS Ltd, Bristol City Council, Avie Consulting Ltd, Vale Consulting Ltd, Below Ground Ltd

• Favela da Paz, São Paulo, Brazil, by Favela da Paz Institute

• Pioneering a Mass Timber Market in East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, by BuildX Studio, Gatsby Africa, AKT II, Arup, Timberliving SA, X-LAM, Autodesk Foundation, DOEN Foundation

• Milan Innovation District, Milan, Italy, by Lendlease, Arexpo, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, E.ON, Carlo Ratti, Mario Cucinella Architects, Piuarch, Beema, LAND, MAD Architects, Obr, Arup, Deerns, Milan Ingegneria, J+S, Italian Department of Justice, PlusValue

• Modulus Homes, Karachi, Pakistan, by ModulusTech, Reall Limited, Open Door Design Studio, Trellis Housing Finance Limited, ConnectHear, Spaces PK

• Monash Woodside Building for Technology and Design, Melbourne, Australia, by Grimshaw, Aurecon, ASPECT Studios, BSGM, Minesco, Root Projects, Six Ideas, Bollinger Grohman

• The Natural Capital Laboratory, Scotland, by AECOM, University of Cumbria, Lifescape Project, NatureMetrics, Emilia and Roger Leese

• NCH2050 Homes, Nottingham, England, by Melius Homes, Nottingham City Council, Focus Consultants, Studio Partington, Energiesprong UK, Nottingham Trent University, Lincoln University

• 107 Niddrie Road, Glasgow, Scotland, by John Gilbert Architects, NBM Construction Cost Consultants, Design Engineering Workshop, Graham Drummond, WARM, CCG Construction, Glasgow University, University of Strathclyde

• Powerhouse Brattørkaia, Trondheim, Norway, by ENTRA ASA, Snøhetta, AsplanViak, ZERO, Skanska Norway

• Sara Cultural Centre, Skellefteå, Sweden, by Skellefteå Municipality, HENT AS, White Arkitekter, Florian Kosche, TK Botnia, WSP, Incoord, Martinssons AB, Derome

• Singita Volcanoes National Park, Ruhengeri, Rwanda, by Rwandan Development Board, Singita, Milton Group LLC, GAPP Architects SA, FBW Architects and Engineers Rwanda, TRPalmer, ASA Rwanda, Seyani Brothers, Grumeti construction TZ, Milton Group LLC, Bioregional UK, Earth Systems Africa, GAPP Architects SA, Ecolution Consulting SA

• TECLA, Massa Lombarda, Italy, by Mario Cucinella Architects, SOS – School of Sustainability, WASP – World’s Advanced Saving Project

• University of East Anglia Enterprise Centre, Norwich, England, by Architype, BDP, Morgan Sindall, Churchman Thornhill Finch)

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