Center for Sustainable Energy Technologies; China

In 2008 Nottingham University opened a new campus in Ningbo in the heart of the Zhijiang district designed by Mario Cucinella Architects.  The Center for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET) focuses on the diffusion of sustainable technologies such as solar power, photovoltaic energy, wind power and so forth.  The $6 million 1,300m2 building accommodates a visitors center, research laboratories and classrooms for masters courses.  The pavilion stands in a large meadow alongside a stream that runs through the campus.  It's design is inspired by Chinese lanterns and traditional wooden screens.

The facade folds dramatically to create a dynamic shape.  The building is entirely clad with double skin, and inner envelope of concrete and an outer envelope of glass.  Lighting between the two skins causes the appearance of the building to change from day to night.  The design employs various environmental strategies.  A large rooftop opening brings natural light to all floors of the building and allows downdraught cooling and efficient natural ventilation.  Geothermal energy is used to cool and heat the floor slabs.