North East architects with a growing reputation for international work are to put forward design plans for a landmark building in the capital of Mongolia.
The Gateshead-based Gradon Architecture has joined forces with architects from the country to design a new ministerial building, destined for a prime site near the Mongolian Parliament in Ulan Bator.
The move came about as a result of a government competition, which will see firms competing to create an innovative building that will not only accommodate hundreds of politicians and civil servants, but which will include ecological features.
According to the World Health Organization, Ulan Bator is the second most polluted city in the world, the use of wood or coal-burning stoves in the traditional ‘ger’ districts being a major cause.
The government is therefore taking action by encouraging the construction of energy-efficient homes and businesses.
Associate architectural technologist at Gradon, Tanja Smith, said: “We wanted to create an excellent working space for ministers and civil servants and to make a statement about how future construction projects could be embraced.
“We have sought to show the strength of the Mongolian nation and its people through design, as well as providing functionality and practical eco-features to create an energy-efficient building.
“Ulan Bator is a growing city with a big pollution problem and it’s important that the winning design inspires further environmental awareness across the country. It is a step into environmental design for a country that is growing up fast.”
Gradon’s design includes energy-efficient heating, a water recycling system, high levels of insulation, a roof top garden and glare shields on windows. It also includes cultural references, such as the incorporation of the Ulzi Khee symbol, meaning ‘happiness and eternity’.
Smith added: “We have looked at Mongolia’s history and culture and based our design on the curves of a horse as the animal is a major symbol of Mongolian culture going back through time to Genghis Khan and beyond. We think it is a building combining function, efficiency and important cultural references.”
After starting to take on international work two years ago, with help from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), overseas business now makes up 30% of the company’s total turnover. The practice recently submitted design proposals for 50 energy-efficient homes in the Nukht Valley of Ulan Bator and an 18-storey hotel, apartment and shopping plaza in the city of Darkhan.