UNStudio Designs Hybrid Building in Luxembourg for a Reduced Carbon Footprint

UNStudio Designs Hybrid Building in Luxembourg for a Reduced Carbon Footprint

UNStudio Designs Hybrid Building in Luxembourg for a Reduced Carbon Footprint

UNStudio, in collaboration with local partner HYP Architects, has won the competition for the design of the Kyklos building in Luxembourg. The project is part of Beval, a large-scale redevelopment initiative aiming to transform a former industrial site into an urban center complete with a university and technological center, in addition to residential, office, and retail spaces. When designing the Kyklos building, which will occupy a central position in the district’s main square, the architects set out to find solutions to create the smallest carbon footprint for both operational and embedded metrics.

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When designing new buildings, the focus usually falls on reducing the operational carbon footprint. But, according to UNStudio, during the first 40 years, almost 90% of the footprint is actually associated with the materials used, also called embedded carbon. The office is researching a framework to address both metrics, the whole life carbon footprint. For the Kyklos building proposal, the architects used the early prototype of Carbon Builder to inform their decisions, leading to a reduction of around 80% compared to typical office buildings in Luxembourg.

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Part of this effort revolves around selecting the most sustainable materials. The Kyklos building uses steel with 100% recycled content, along with carbon mixtures with improved carbon performance. The choice of a hybrid steel-concrete structure was determined to offer a better performance in the long run. Early calculations show the possibility of this structure achieving 115kg of CO2 equivalent/m2, compared to 580 kg/m2 for a typical office building in Luxembourg.


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Our new carbon tools have shown us that timber is not always the best option and that highly sustainable buildings do not all have to look the same. We can now demonstrate that interesting geometry and high levels of sustainability are not mutually exclusive. – Ben van Berkel

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The UNStudio-designed building is intended to become the centerpiece of the Agora Masterplan, featuring 8 floors of office space above a mixed-use level open to the public. The multi-story lobby creates a unified space for the reception and commercial functions, with circular stairs creating a visual connection with the surrounding urban landscape. The floorplates of the building branch from a circular core, suspended by steel cables to eliminate the need for lard-bearing columns and free up the floor space for flexible interior layouts.

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Recently, UNStudio unveiled the design of a unique Ferris wheel to be built in Seoul as the centerpiece of the Sangam World Cup Park. The office has also revealed the design of the new Hiwell Amber Centre, a complex of four high-rise towers planned on a site that also hosts the Olympic Sports Centre, the 2023 Asian Games complex in the center of Hangzhou, China.

Project credits

  • UNStudio team: Ben van Berkel, Arjan Dingste with Stella Nikolakaki, Bruno Peris Vila and Cristobal Ignacio Burgos Sanhueza, Laura Lopez Iglesias, Regiane Fernandes de Oliveira, Taliia Nurutdinova, Matthias Kooijman.
  • Local Architect: HYP Architects
  • Visualisations: by Play-Time Barcelona

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