Sustainable Cohabitation

Leave a comment

Sustainable Cohabitation

Wendai Zhu



The proposal is based on the intention to develop a data center in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis and part of the Western Isles in Scotland. Around the data center, a cohabitation strategy will be developed, accommodating with greenhouse program. According to the local cold weather condition of Scotland, the low harvest of vegetables become a major issue. The program of this data center is for various experiments to increase the vegetable yields each year. This proposal will accommodate the cohabitation strategy by using the heat that generated by the data center. A large amount of heat generated by data center will be applied on the Hydroponic Greenhouse to adjust the temperature in order to provide a comfortable environment for growing plants. Regarding the site, there are 200 people currently working in the existing fabrication yard. The part of the yield vegetables from the hydroponic farm will be prepared in the proposal post-production building. These vegetables will be transferred directly to the kitchen later. The visitors can have their lunch in this kitchen. The rest of the vegetables will be transported to other places in the West of Isles. Along with the greenhouse, the tropical garden and the visitor center will be accommodated for the tourists who will visit the data center. This ‘five rings’ system will designate a sustainable system that will benefit for not only the Stornoway but also the Western Isles.




Who influences you graphically?

In terms of architectural drawings, I am much influenced by the earlier drawings of Archigram and Traditional Chinese Painting: Qingming Festival (清明上河图). I have studied the characters of Archigram which juxtaposes painting style and technology. The drawing philosophy was influenced by Van Doesburg who took an avant-garde approach. In parallel, refer to the ‘Qingming Festival (清明上河图), the isometric projection set the tone of reflecting the busy and dynamic atmosphere of these proposal drawings. In short, I want to create the serendipitous happy atmosphere that combines the both Western and Eastern view of architectural drawings.


What defined the graphic aesthetic of the proposal?

Rather than focus on the real perspective or the real dimensions of the building objects, I shifted the intension from the building metrics to building silhouettes. The drawings mainly focus on architectural narrative aspect. The joyful, easy and relaxing mood has been created under the rigor of architectural narrative. Last but not least, the subtle texture background integrates the drawing package that has the same graphic language in general.


What defined the choice of colour palette?

In order to clarify the graphic representation, I chose the serenity pantone colour palette as the main colour tone of the drawings. The shadow of the objects or buildings on site could be negated like other collage drawings but the architectural hierarchy is delineated by the changes of the shades in order to express the depth of the drawings. The calm pantone colour blurs the boundary from object to object, softening the harsh comparison to various geometries. This colour palette has relaxed the abrupt perspective of drawings, which reconciles the transition from drawing to drawing smoothly.


What your process in terms of concept development in relation to the production of drawings?

“Our time has produced a need for contrast. This has been achieved not only in the external appearance of plastic expressions of color and matter, but also, and chiefly, in the tempo of life and in the techniques related to the daily, mechanical functions of life; namely standing, walking, driving, to lying and sitting – in short, every action which determines the content of architecture.” – Van Doesburg


The decision of the architectural form was determined by food transportation chain. The food production and the making mechanism define the drive of the concept development: the circular ring system. The unconventional circular dome was modelled in Grasshopper (Plugin for Rhino). Graphically, the intricate tectonic element of the glass roof exaggerates the drawings becoming more interesting and realistic. The background polygon elements added extra flavour of digital sense in terms of graphic style. In relation to the modern technology, the advanced digital turn of parametric architecture is not necessary, it can be illustrated in a relaxing and more welcoming way with a sense of humour and desire of abstraction. To sum up, there are two types of entangled mechanisms in this proposal. One is the tangible mechanism: people, infrastructures and mechanical machines. The other is the intangible mechanism: digital tools for the graphic presentation.



Wendai graduated from the University of Edinburgh with Degree of Architecture MA (Hons) in 2017. She is interested in the integration of traditional architectural ornamentation, intricate geometry form as well as the combination of BIM and parametric design aspects. Especially the contradiction and relationship of this triad that generates a paradox and contingent area of new architectural exploration. She is now practicing as a junior architect in 100architects.




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.