It is always a welcome change when green building plans emerge that are a lighthearted, innovative and have an underlying element of whimsy or hedony.
It is commonly understood that going green and becoming environmentally responsible is a response to the hard fact that we need to cut back on overconsuming resources – which in turn emits excessive levels of harmful greenhouse gases – for the good of the planet, ourselves and future generations.
That, however, often leaves green building portrayed as deprivation design, or ‘cutting back’, when it is really just about designing smarter.
Les Villages Nature, France’s first major eco resort, located east of Paris, demonstrates how going green can be fun.
While the resort is expected to run in a completely carbon neutral and waste free way, it will be built in association with the Disneyland Paris theme park, developed by Euro Disney and the Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs, which is in and of itself known for whimsy.
Earliest renderings of the resort show a water-filled Utopia with the heated water park slated to be run on geothermal energy. Also included in the 160,000 square metre resort will be an interactive farm and 30,000 square metres of built spaces.
These spaces will be all run in a way that follows 10 founding guidelines or principles that truly give an insight into just how holistically sustainable the developers plan to be. These include the aforementioned carbon neutrality and zero waste as well as the use of locally sourced materials, production of local and organic food, sustainable use of water, protection of natural habitats and wildlife, fostering culture and heritage, promoting equitable economic development and promoting a strong quality of life.
While the built spaces are expected to be world-class in their design and delivery, it is the strong emphasis on making outdoor mobility paramount that will truly allow these principles to be upheld.
The farms and sustainable gardens will double as low-key educational spaces for both children and adults to learn about sustainable planting and food, with thousands of square metres dedicated to horse trails, hiking routes and outdoor play.
Sustainability doesn’t have to mean deprivation. It does, however, mean looking at design in new and alternative ways. While it is fantastic to see geothermal water parks, and petting farms that have a deeper, educational element, developing green buildings that encourage outdoor interaction is one of the simplest, easiest and most enjoyable ways to live low carbon.