Xi'An station inspired by silkworms: the ACL project wins Renolit's Mention for environmental sustainability

30 Mar 2020

Green spaces, energy efficiency, particular attention to the architectural solutions of the flat roofs: these are the criteria that led to conferring the Honourable Mention RENOLIT to The silk refugee project of the ACL team, United Kingdom. The proposal for the new Xi’An Train Station, the central theme of the Manni Group Design Award, was signed by the Englishman Alistay Lillystone and the Polish Martyna Feluś.

The team was formed in 2017, under the common passion for an environmentally friendly and sustainable design. «Our principal concept aim and motivational interest is in the impact of urbanisation on the natural world as well as previous human ancestral settlements that have been replaced with the growing urban fabric» architects say. «We believe that preserving the natural landscape and existing traditional ways of cultural evolvement are the key ingredients to create harmony and balance for the future of the natural world and place forming for people». 

A structure inspired by silkworms

The Silk Road has been the world-famous route between China and Europe which derives its name from the lucrative silk trade. It was a strategic link not only for textile business but also for the exchange of any other goods and ideas, including religions, philosophies, sciences and technology. The route became a cultural trade symbol among the civilisations. As approximately 6,600 silkworms are lost to make 1 kilogram of silk, this project has been developed in honour of the insect which gave name to the famous route.

Balance the built environment, replace farmland and nature, deliver a green vision for the city hub should be the narrative of design with building to strive to create harmony with nature and resources protecting our environment. Green roofs and ecological gardens are an essential part of the project, the forms are inspired by the silkworm and its habitat. Cellular spaces create a fluid interchange of different zones in a visually light-filled open plan station creating a possible natural habitat where those precious insects can live.

Balance between technology and sustainability

The challenge for the participants was to design a railway station in the Chinese city of Xi'An, to be created using sustainable technical solutions ensuring an elegant integration between architectural and natural elements. RENOLIT, an international company specialized in building coatings, participated in the jury of the Manni Group Design Award as main sponsor.

The winner project of the RENOLIT honourable mention stood out for its energy savings capability, thanks to the use of cool roofs systems. «These systems can reduce the harmful effects of urban heat islands while maintaining maximum design freedom in the architectural study of roof coverings» says Luca Gottardi, Marketing Manager of Waterproofing Roofing’ sector. «The focus on the use of flat roofing, the creation of green spaces and on the energy performance of buildings are the reasons that led us to choose the ACL team project. The intervention provides for the integration between a natural environment, rich in water and vegetation - capable of reducing energy consumption, CO2 emissions and the heat island effect - and a modern and functional structure. A symbiotic balance between technology and sustainability, for us, an example of construction that can meet the technological and environmental challenges of the 21st century».

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