Four Buildings Designed for the Natural Environment
May 5, 2021 | By: LX Collection
As the effects of climate change become increasingly concrete, our approach to the built environment plays a crucial part in repairing the relationship between humankind and the planet we call home. Architects and designers have been incorporating green design considerations like energy efficiency and sustainably sourced materials into more and more new luxury residential buildings as a matter of course. But many designers are also seeking to restore this delicate balance through holistic architecture that blends the natural world and the built environment for the benefit of both. Whether merging into the landscape, bringing the outdoors in, or giving back to the surrounding ecosystem, these four new developments encourage us to honor and experience nature in all its forms.
On a stretch of pristine Miami beachfront sits 57 Ocean, an ultraluxury condominium development that aims to foster a deep connection to its seaside setting. Designers Arquitectonica and interior designer Anastassiadis Arquitetos tapped into sensory cues that integrate the natural surroundings into the residential experience. Residences are suffused with natural light that subtly shifts with the seasons, weather, and time of day. Gazing out from their spacious terraces, residents can take in epic views stretching across azure waters to the horizon, enjoying an ever-shifting canvas of light, clouds, and waves. Amenities like the outdoor bar are kissed by refreshing ocean breezes year-round and blur distinctions between interior and exterior space. Waves breaking on the nearby beach provide a soothing soundtrack for serene experiences in the property’s meditation garden. Abundant greenery by landscape designers ArtquitectonicaGEO gives 57 Ocean an organic feel, from the vertical gardens hanging from the facade to the lush native plantings that dot the landscaped green space. Not only does 57 Ocean feel immersed in nature, but with 220 feet of frontage along the Atlantic, residents are also never more than steps from the water’s edge.
New York City isn’t exactly known for its green spaces, but amid the city’s “forest” of glass and steel towers, Waterline Square, a groundbreaking new residential development, offers New Yorkers access to a scarce commodity: nature at their doorstep. The three-acre park, designed by Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, links the buildings by Richard Meier, Kohn Pedersen Fox, and Raphael Viñoly, and creates a natural haven in the heart of the Upper West Side. As the park’s topography descends toward the Hudson’s edge, the carefully choreographed landscape breaks from the urban grid and widens into a vast green space where residents and their neighbors can find refuge from the city. Following the footpaths deeper into the park, visitors are immersed in an organic landscape with naturalistic groves of trees (featuring 20 species chosen to represent Manhattan’s natural biodiversity) and even a rushing stream.
Singapore’s tropical climate and plentiful foliage were the inspirations behind Thomas Heatherwick’s design for EDEN, a new luxury tower in harmony with the natural setting of this island paradise. The tower’s captivating hanging gardens form a vertical landscape along its central core of lushly planted balconies. “By designing a building which has different tree types, grasses, leaves rustling, the whole idea is that this is a living, changing thing,” Heatherwick notes of his first residential project, which also features a tranquil rooftop garden. “The plants enrich the experience for everyone who lives here.” The tower’s three-sided design allows for massive windows that look out over the verdant balconies while bathing each residence with natural daylight and inviting cooling cross breezes.
Oceana Bal Harbour
At this luxurious paradise on the pristine South Florida shores, the beachfront setting is deeply woven into the building’s architecture and amenities. Developer Eduardo Costantini sought to deepen residents’ connection to nature by maximizing the amount of green space, enhanced with features like lawns, trees, and reflection pools. Landscaping by Enzo Enea sets the stage with a backdrop of native live oaks and yellow poincianas that greet residents on arrival, beckoning them through a garden that leads to the building’s entrance. Inside, floor-through residences offer full-length windows and spacious balconies with stunning views of the ocean, Biscayne Bay, and Florida’s shimmering white-sand beaches. But Oceana Bal Harbour doesn’t only celebrate the beauty of South Florida’s unique natural landscape—it strives to protect the area’s ecosystem. The pathways that meander along the water’s edge, for example, are illuminated with turtle-safe lighting that won’t disorient hatchlings as they follow the moonlight from the beach into their ocean habitat.