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Clean, green and serene

Updated: 2023-10-16 08:53 ( China Daily )
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The exhibition, MVRDV Green Factory, held at the oxygen plant complex, is covered by greenery. CHINA DAILY

"I imagine cities being dipped in greenery to make them better. I have always dreamed that cities could be like that in the future, maybe Hong Kong, maybe Beijing, maybe Hangzhou," Maas said during his speech at the opening ceremony of the exhibition.

With scale models, descriptions, images and an immersive film, the exhibition presents an overview of the work The Why Factory has undertaken to turn its vision of transforming cities with greenery into reality.

The film presents a vivid preview of the green cities Maas proposes, and focuses on the outdoor areas, building surfaces and indoor spaces of five cities, all cloaked in trees and plants, with their landmarks retained.

To turn these images into reality in a practical manner, The Why Factory has been developing the Greenmaker tool, which, through meticulous calculation, designs reinforced structures that permit vegetation to grow throughout buildings, thus contributing to carbon neutrality. Projects ranging from individual buildings to the planning of urban areas have been carried out achieving the "green reality" Maas envisions.

Since 2000, the Dutch architectural firm has been involved in projects in several major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.

The current Hangzhou project dates back to 2019, when Maas and Weng Ling, art curator and founder of the Beijing-based cultural company IDEAS, worked on the master plan for a demonstration area in the northern part of the city near the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, where the former oxygen plant is located.

"Our urban planning projects integrate the IDEAS concept — the integration and innovation of art and science to create an ideal future for people, cities and nature," Weng says. "We are blending different forms of art and creative expression, as well as interdisciplinary creation and presentation, into an envisioned future space."

In tandem with the exhibition, a series of IDEAS Envisioning the Future forums took place between Sept 15 and 17, drawing experts from fields including design, education, art and science.

Covering topics ranging from art and science, and the power of art and design, to innovation for good, and humanity and lifestyle, guest speakers discussed popular contemporary topics, as well as ways to facilitate the creation of future societies and urban construction in creative and innovative ways.

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