A part-time freelance writer living in North London who dabbles in art, food and fashion. See you around town!
Published October 9th 2012
Back to the future of sustainable cities
Designed to be one of the most sustainable buildings in the world, Seiman's The Crystal building is an impressive addition to the rapidly changing waterfront of Royal Victoria Docks. The anticipation of the initial opening resulted in a queue as it opened to an eager public. There is a definite 'wow' factor even before you step foot into the £30 million structure.
"Our concept for the building was inspired by nature, creating a distinctive crystalline form which aims to inspire people to see the future of sustainability as an opportunity to be more innovative and improve the quality of the building fabric of our cities," notes Sebastien Ricard, Director of Wilkinson Eyre Architects.
Apart from its distinctive architectural style, the building is designed to be all electric, using innovative technology such as solar power and ground source heat pumps that allow it to generate its own energy.
The exhibition highlights global challenges and opportunities in creating a sustainable world, and even allows you to engage in interactive games of problem solving. I tried out the 'City Monitor' game where four visitors work together to run different departments of a city within a finite budget. Unfortunately, my city went bankrupt but hopefully yours will fair better!
If you aren't camera shy, you can pose with either the e-car or e-chopper that are both on display. The e-car has graphics that give a neat 'x-ray' view to the bonnet of the car, while the e-chopper is just plain stylish, so few could resist the opportunity to have an impromptu photo shoot.
Other innovative displays are in the 'Water is Life' zone which focuses on creative solutions to water shortages such as rainwater harvesting and desalination. Take in the artificial waterfall created from harvested rainwater cascading down a crystal structure.
The exhibit caps off with a film presentation of futuristic sustainable cities including London, Copenhagen and New York. I couldn't help but think that Minority Report and other sci-fi films had influenced this feature as we were shown a future version of London complete with intelligence data in transportation.
Leaving The Crystal exhibition, you almost feel as if you have stepped back into the present day following an afternoon of time travelling. One of the most interactive and innovative exhibition experiences you will have and definitely not to be missed.