May 16, 2020

Feature Series: Coolest Buildings for 2020 - Part 1

Leigh Manning
3 min
Feature Series: Coolest Buildings for 2020 - Construction Global
Part 1 - Vancouver House, Vancouver Canada.

We have recently seen the construction of the tallest building in Africa to the launch of Europe’s first...

Part 1 - Vancouver House, Vancouver Canada. 

We have recently seen the construction of the tallest building in Africa to the launch of Europe’s first underwater restaurant. We also witnessed the horror of Notre Dame burning and losing industry giants like Carillion. 

We look ahead to the most inspiring buildings due to shape our cities in the coming year.

The list includes skyscrapers, museums and even a hotel with a hole in it! 

Feature Series: Coolest Buildings for 2020 - Construction Global

Vancouver Skyline

Vancouver House twists into the Vancouver skyline like a whirlwind. The ground floor is a triangular shape, twisting up into a rectangular top floor. This project really pushes the boundaries of engineering, at least to the untrained eye. 

The project juts into the Vancouver skyline, with a total height of 525ft. Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group are the mastermind behind the spectacular design. The unusual shape of the construction site itself led to a truly unique design. 

The building rises from a 6,000 square foot base and twists into a 14,000 square foot rectangular tower. The result, a dynamic top-heavy structure giving the impression of a massive curtain being pulled back to showcase downtown Vancouver. 

The project will consist of 388 residential suites, each with a unique floor layout. The suites will range from one-bedroom studios to the impressive four-bedroom penthouse. The tower will also feature a 25m heated pool upon the rooftop.

A beautifully landscaped terrace area, a state of the art golf simulator and a 10,000 square foot fitness suite. The elevators will become the fastest in Canada, reaching speeds up to 1,600 feet per minute. 

Challenges of an asymmetric building

The non-symmetrical design posed seriously taxing challenges due to the seismic and wind load factors of such an unusual shape. 

To make certain of structural integrity, loads will want to be removed from the wider, top levels of the tower and transferred down to columns and the core. A concrete core was designed that will be reinforced with vertical post-tension rods encased in the concrete wall. Steel beams will additionally be embedded in doorway headers.

In-slab horizontal post-tension cables and vertical post-tension rods will transfer loads back to a branching machine of columns and shear partitions as the floors extend upwards.

Feature Series: Coolest Buildings for 2020 - Construction Global

Features of Sustainability

The Dow Corning wall panels are vacuum insulated. Pair this with triple-glazed curtain wall and the building envelope is high in energy conservation. 

The super-fast elevators use gearless traction technology for highly efficient power consumption. 

The office and retail assets feature super-efficient LED lighting with motion sensors and daylight controls. 

Heat recovery ventilation, low-temperature hydronic heating and cooling system, and green roofs of the podium buildings are the other sustainable features of the building. The Vancouver House targets to achieve LEED Platinum certification.


Part 2 takes us to China for a stunning 23-acre development like no other. 

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Jul 28, 2021

Sonnedix starts construction of 50MW solar plant in Spain

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Sonnedix Los Frailes will be built on an 111-hectare site and marks the company's largest project in Spain

Sonnedix has started building a 50MW solar PV plant in Badajoz, Spain.

Sonnedix Los Frailes will be built on a 111-hectares, becoming the largest project built by the IPP in the country, where it has operated since 2010. With over 110,000 monocrystaline solar panels, the project will connect through a transmission line to the Vaguadas substation.

During construction, Sonnedix will create approximately 250 new jobs in Badajoz, in line with its ESG standards and commitment to improving the life of the local community.

Once operational, Sonnedix Los Frailes, which is being developed in collaboration with Viridi RE group, will produce approximately 102,000 MWh per year, capable of powering more than 36,500 homes with clean electricity and avoiding over 24,000 tons of CO2.

Axel Thiemann, CEO of Sonnedix, said: “We are excited to start the construction of our largest project to date in Spain, a milestone that highlights both our strong commitment to the Spanish market, and our potential to expand our platform worldwide. We are very proud of our hard-working and committed team in Spain, which has doubled in the last year, and we look forward to continue developing and acquiring solar PV projects in the country, playing an important role in the energy transition, as well as the post-pandemic economic recovery.”

Last June 2020, Sonnedix signed a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Europe´s largest producer of renewable energy and leading PPA provider Statkraft for the supply of 100 GWh of energy per year, making it the IPP’s first PPA for a grid-parity project in Spain.

Sonnedix is one of the leading solar IPPs in Spain, with over 1GW of capacity, including 365MW operational, 50MW under construction, and a development pipeline of over 600MW. Currently it has almost 2GW under operation or construction across eight countries, plus more than 2GW in the pipeline.

According to SolarPower Europe, Spain is expected to have a total installed solar PV capacity of 29GW by 2024 in the medium scenario, making it the second largest solar market in Europe. Renewables produced 50.7% of Spain’s electricity in May, generating 10% more gigawatt-hours year-on-year.

The Spanish National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) targets 74% of renewable electricity generation and 39.2 GW of PV capacity by 2030.

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