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Koichi Takada Architects Imagine the Dream Home of Europe’s Green Future

Architects Imagine the Dream Homes of Europe’s Green Future
Render of Koichi Takada Architects’ Sunflower House in Le Marche, Italy. Inspired by the sun-seeking sunflower, the building’s roof and each floor rotate on sensors for maximum sun exposure. CGI by Doug and Wolf.
“Modernism was based on a static style—a combination of steel, glass, and concrete that I call dead materials. What we are looking at in the 21st century is a shift from industrial to natural. It’s about celebrating the living material and the living architecture.”
Koichi Takada

Spectacular technology breakthroughs, multiple trillions of euros in investment, and an economic overhaul won’t be enough to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050—it also will need a new look.

Bloomberg Green invited De Smedt, Casper Mork-Ulnes, and Koichi Takada, all architects are known for their focus on sustainability to perform an exercise of the imagination. The rules were simple: Pick a place in Europe, design a single-family home to suit that climate, and make it produce more energy than it uses. —With James Tarmy

“Scientists, designers, and architects talk about drawing inspiration from nature in an aesthetic sense,” Takada says. “We have a much more accurate, purposeful objective. It’s not just making it look like nature, but something that really contributes to greening cities.”
Koichi Takada

Sunflower House, by Koichi Takada

Born in Tokyo and based in Sydney, Takada takes his inspiration from trees, forests, seashells, and, in this case, sunflowers. “What nature does is fascinating,” he says. “In artificial structures you need a massive foundation, but with sunflowers nature somehow does this balancing act, with minimum intervention on the ground so the Earth itself also has room for other activities.”

The Sunflower House, designed for the Italian region of Umbria, should withstand and profit from the warming Mediterranean climate, where heat waves are becoming more frequent and more extreme.

Each floor hosts a two- or three-bedroom apartment, and each building can be as high as three stories. Scalability opens up the possibility of creating a climate-positive neighborhood inspired by sunflower fields, in which the plants self-organize, adopting a zigzag pattern that avoids overcrowding and maximizes exposure to sunlight.