China asks Dutch firm for drone-powered space on Shanghai’s island

Image copyright AFP Image caption Birdhouse, seen from above, is totally self-sufficient

The Netherlands appears to have caught the imagination of China as a breeding ground for innovative architects.

And Dutch firm Birdhouse has just revealed a drone-powered structure that can walk from Shanghai to a new building it is designed to replace.

The move will allow Birdhouse to carry out research on the potential of vertical development in the eastern city.

Along the way, they hope to prove that the buildings themselves can carry out complex work.

The Birdhouse is a triangular-shaped structure with 60,000 square metres of internal space, a fully powered four-storey car park on the roof and a wealth of amenities, including swimming pools, a bowling alley and a cinema, located on top of a 35 metre-high artificial island.

Birdhouse will relocate to the new space during the summer, and it is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Stunning drone footage of the Birdhouse in the Netherlands

But its movement is in part a response to Shanghai’s rapid population growth and growing environmental awareness.

The project was proposed as a way to create a more sustainable city.

“In Shanghai they have started to realise that the older high-rise buildings and the large parking lots are not the solution for the city,” says Birdhouse’s Simon Setkausen.

“One of the main reasons behind the Birdhouse development is to show that you don’t need to rely on a big parking lot for buildings.”

Image copyright AFP Image caption Birdhouse hopes it can help demonstrate self-sufficient development

“Many large cities in the world will benefit from this. Shanghai, for example, will be a test case for our work,” he added.

“That we are working in China at all highlights the interest and fascination that many investors and developers have for our work.”

The Dutch firm believes they are able to demonstrate self-sufficient construction by using biological processes to create electricity and water.

This is because the structure uses plants and the air it breathes to provide the material it needs for building.

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