“My life and that of the practice has always been involved in the experiment and ideas, particularly around sustainability.” – Nicholas Grimshaw.
Inspired by his great ancestors from the construction industry, Nicholas Grimshaw started his firm, the Grimshaw Architects, in 1980. The organization’s portfolio has various projects from different sectors, including transport, commercial, residential, educational, recreational, and master planning projects. Grimshaw Architects has won more than 150 international design awards. Grimshaw’s projects are befitting examples of high-tech detail with the principles of human quality of life and sustainability. Let’s learn about the 15 best projects by Grimshaw Architects.
1. Gilston Park Estate – North Harlow, United Kingdom
The Gilston Park Estate comprises 8500 homes on the site of 1000 hectares. The project’s vision is equality, quality of life, access to the countryside, a sense of communal identity, good health, and well-being of residents. Grimshaw collaborates with MICA Architects and Grants associates for the project.
The master plan comprises six interlinking villages surrounded by forests. Residences are well connected with pathways, and parking areas, and a green belt is interlaced at the perimeter of each village. Housing typologies are welcoming to people of all ages with all the basic amenities and access to central community and public services.
Gilston Park Estate has drawn on the concept of the Garden city movement. The project features and planning create a sense of community and equality with affordable homes for everyone.
2. EarthPark – Doha, Qatar
The EarthPark in Doha city is a center of excellence for science-based literacy and environmental studies and research. The thoughtful design of the center interlink all the functional spaces of cultural programs, such as the botanical garden, aquarium, zoo, and science center, along with integrating nature into a building that excites learners and supports learning and productivity.
Due to the hot climate EarthPark’s design comprises efficient green technologies such as advanced materials and follows sustainable site guidelines to reduce energy consumption and the overall negative impact of the building on the environment.
3. Terra – The Sustainable Pavilion Expo 2020, Dubai
Terra, the pavilion for Expo 2020 in Dubai is sited in a prominent location. The design considered the physical and cultural context of the site and the city. The challenge of the project was to build the building sustainably in the desert.
The building functions mimic the complex natural process of photosynthesis as the form of the structure captures energy from sunlight and fresh water from humidity. The design of the structure is the holistic approach of green building to achieve net zero with the combination of these strategies: 1. Optimize natural resources in and around the site to maximize the efficiency of the building.
- Analysis and optimization use of natural site conditions.
Landscape areas on the site are used for both experimental and functional settings of the stage exhibition. Varied native biodiversity species are on planted roofs and throughout the landscape area for water-efficient landscape and freshwater conservation. The surface of the structure is clad with a gabion rain screen wall that provides thermal mass, and the stone’s natural colour reflects the heat.
The main canopy of the pavilion has more than 6,000 sqm of ultra-efficient photovoltaic cells. The combination of glass and photovoltaic cells harnesses solar energy while providing shade and daylighting. The circular form of the canopy aligns with the courtyard for cool air into the building while simultaneously removing warm air through a chimney effect at the center.
The most amazing part of the pavilion is that it has transformed into a museum and is expanding its possibility to explore sustainable green technologies and practices to combat climate change.
4. Eden Project – Cornwall, United Kingdom
Eden project is a unique ambitious green exhibition as well as a natural observatory to host research and education programs. The Grimshaw architects developed the design concept of natural occurring geometrics. Initially, the site was a brownfield – china clay pit which later transferred into a very new natural habitat with various collections of flora and biodiversity species.
The sequence of interlinked domes known as ‘biomes’ are spread over 2.2 hectares, and the geodesic transparent ETFE structure plays a great role in climate responsive design. The pyramidal windows on the upper roof allow natural lighting and ventilation over the exhibition and cafe space.
The Grimshaw’s Eden project is a world-famous attractive building that is also contributing hugely to Cornwall’s economy. The holistic approach to sustainability adapted by Grimshaw architects is the reason behind its success.
5. Modular Water Dwellings – The Netherlands
Modular water dwellings are situated on a main industrial waterway in the Netherlands. Grimshaw collaborated with Concrete valley to innovate modular water dwellings to provide affordable and resilient housing to the threat of sea level rise. Dwellings are well insulated and shaded with pontoons while using minimum energy and providing energy by solar panels.
The project encourages an active lifestyle through different communal activities and creates a sense of community through shared spatial resources such as gardens and terraces.
6. Oman Botanic Garden – Muscat, Oman
The Oman Botanic Garden has spread on 420 hectares and it will be the largest garden in the world. It will conserve the surrounding biodiversity and celebrate the country’s biodiversity. The Grimshaw architects considered microclimate and site conditions and built the form, shape, and use materials accordingly.
7. Harbor Mill Apartments – Sydney, Australia
Harbor Mill Apartments has 136 modular apartments. Flats flip on each floor. The project has plans for interlocked public and semi-private courtyards with a rooftop garden and terraces.
The Interiors of each apartment are cross ventilated and naturally lighted. The light weighted metal framed and screened facades protect the building from direct sunlight and acoustic effects of traffic along the site area.
8. SUEZ Energy from Waste Facility – Suffolk, United Kingdom
The Grimshaw architects’ SUEZ project is awarded a BREEAM’s ‘Outstanding’ rating. The SUEZ diverts waste from landfill in the city. The industrial and agricultural waste, the building’s structure is made up of robust materials. The building’s colour changes and transparency according to the sun’s positions to reduce energy consumption and provide thermal insulation to the building.
The natural light diffuses in the building improves the productivity of employees and the efficiency of the building.
9. Kutubu Convention Center – Papua New Guinea
Kutubu Convention Center held the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference. It has over 5,500 sqm with 800 seated banquet halls. The structure of the building is inspired by Papua New Guinea’s traditional timber.
The timber roof shelters outdoor spaces, and all the interior spaces are naturally ventilated as well as inspired by cultural craft. The combination of culture and traditional features is setting a benchmark for architectural quality.
10. Croton Water Filtration Plant – New York, USA
Croton is the first city’s water filtration plant for the growing need for sustainable water strategies. Grimshaw Architects took inspiration for the design from the shape and natural filtration process of water lily. It catches rainwater and filters it. The plant’s circular footprint collects and redistributes groundwater.
The moats and Bioswales collect and filter water as well as wetland systems which benefit from enhancing natural habitat. The plant delivers approximately 30% of the city’s water demand.
11. Shenzhen Airport East Integrated Transport Hub – Shenzhen, China
The Grimshaw Architects achieved the LEED Platinum rating for the Shenzhen Airport. The mangrove tree is the inspiration as it is the native significant flora of the city and the most carbon absorber.
The natural form of the mangrove’s diverse root system thrives on connectivity and inspires passengers for a happy journey. The flowing building forms naturally lighted the interior spaces for enjoyable and productive space for employers as well as passengers.
12. Puna’ania Cultural and Conference Center
The Grimshaw Architects collaborates with PARC Architects and A.Maramarama.It is a traditional gathering and meeting space. It depicts the culture, arts, crafts, and natural environment of the city of Tahiti.
The site is surrounded by dense vegetation. The functions are wrapped by the topography of the site. The roof is in the rhythm of the site and expresses the acoustics of the events and entertainment at the center.
13. Hobsons Bay Wetlands Center – Melbourne, Australia
Hobsons Bay Wetlands Center is an education and research center. The vision of the project is to regenerate the wetland ecology and biodiversity. To achieve the sustainable vision Grimshaw Architects collaborates with traditional owners, stakeholders, and the Bunurong land council.
The features of the wetland center connect with nature to improve users’ health and well-being and the natural environment.
14. IJburg Bridges – Amsterdam
Grimshaw Architects has designed bridges in Amsterdam spanning 60m and 90m. The concept of bridges is the theme of stones skipping over the water. The voids between the decks allow views for the visitors and light the bridge deck with natural light.
Wing walls have been created for nesting spaces for birds, bats, and many other species as well as at the base of the abutments allowing mammals to cross the roads safely.
15. Bath Schools of Art and Design – Bath, United Kingdom
Bath Schools of Art and Design is a world heritage site of baths. Initially, Bath Spa was a factory for Herman Miller and was completed in 1976. Now it has transformed into a University.
The functional spaces comprise community spaces, breakout spaces, and cafes. The project encourages an open community for people, enhancing the environmental quality and energy performance of the university.
The world needs to combat climate change where the built environment sector is highly responsible for it. The Grimshaw Architects is the befitted example for emerging architects and designers to inspire innovative sustainable design approaches.
- grimshaw.global. (n.d.). StackPath. [online] Available at: https://grimshaw.global/projects.