Landsea Passive House Experience Center in Yanqing North China


Landsea Passive House Experience Center Project in Yanqing North China which designed by Frey Group has received high attention at the 22nd International Passive House Conference.  This Project is  a retrofitting to an existing building, thanks to its remarkable design, and also the highly supports from First-party and construction planning team, the experience center dramatically meets the standard for “Passive Haus Plus” and becomes the first and so far the only certificated “Passivhaus Plus” Project in China. It was awarded “Passivhaus Plus” certificate by Mr. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Fest, Director of German  Passive House Institute and the co-originator of the passive house concept, in person.


Since the project is located in cold region, the obtaining and losing of heat during heating season become key factors that effect energy consumption of building. This project is retrofitting existing building, limited by the planning of the area where it located, so there is very little potential space for the changes of its shape or structure. Gladly, the existing building is in nice cubic shape, with satisfying system coefficients, and it faces the south. Overall, it takes great advantages in terms of energy conservation.

As passive house experience center, the first floor of the building is passive house exhibition hall to present passive house principle, materials of related equipment and so on. Two living experience units were set on the second floor, including one single apartment and a double-bedrooms commercial house.

Green Tech

Building functions were firstly optimized by designer, with main functions on the south side and auxiliary functions on the north side. In addition, increasing windows size on south façade to the utmost to obtain more solar thermal. In contrast, reducing windows size on north façade to the utmost to minimize heat lost under precondition of meeting all functions.

The division of windows is also key point for the project. Since proportion of glass is an essential effect factor for windows heat obtaining. Designer has discussed with window factory several times before deciding the ideal window division.

Other key points: retrofitting of solar panel base on the roof, electric box on east façade, building soleplate insolation, arrangement of warm water pipes and etc. Above mentioned key points all got optimal solutions after PHPP calculation with designer’s innovation and professional project experience in passive house field.

Passivhaus Plus

Passive house was classified by German Passive House Institute into three levels: Classic, Plus and Premium, with standards gradually raised. For “Passivhaus Classic”, renewable primary energy consumption per year should be less than 60 kWh/m², but has no requirement for energy production. For “Passivhaus Plus”, the criteria is dynamic, usually it requires annual renewable primary energy consumption should be less than 45 kWh/m², meanwhile with at least 60 kWh/m² annual energy production (the area here is building site area, not the gross floor area).  If building primary energy consumption higher than 45 kWh/m², then the energy production criteria will be somehow raised at the same time. However, as long as its energy consumption over than 60 kWh/m², it can’t be recognized as “Passivhaus Plus”, no matter how high its energy production capacity is. Similarly, when building’s energy consumption is lower than 45 kWh/m², then requirement capacity of the energy production for “Passivhaus Plus” will be decreased. As a conclusion, to meet passive house plus standards, the energy consumption by heating, cooling, lighting, hot water, electric equipment and so on need to be considered and optimized, and eventually decreased to a certain level.  Afterwards, requiring energy from nature to the utmost by applying solar photovoltaic panel or solar thermal collector etc. making it possible to reach “Passivhaus Plus” standard.

The project successfully passed air tightness test at once with an ultra-low result of 0.2 times/h, and was certificated by German Passive House Institute (PHI) with PHPP calculation results: annual heating demand 5 kWh/m²a, heating load 6 W/m², cooling and dehumidification demand 13 13W/m²a, cooling load 6 W/m², primary energy  consumption 49 kWh/m²a, unit base area electricity production 110 W/m²a.



High Tech Center


Carbon, as one of the most essential elements on the planet, is a basic substance of living creatures. Industrial studies on low-carbon, coal-based, etc., which relate to carbon, are important issues for technology & innovation city. The common feature of various allotropes of carbon molecular structure is the hexagonal shape. This program is developed with this carbon element concept, using hexagon as the motif of building façade, and named as“Carbon Crystal”.

From the perspective of structure, hexagon is a plant form with significant features, and reasonable mechanics. Low-carbon passive house can be achieved through this beehive-likely structure, by maximally gain the natural lighting and ventilation in limited building space.

In this case, the bulk of the multi-story buildings are distributed linearly along with the hexagonal border system, showing in a twisty way with the form of multiple layers. Several low-story buildings, with large space, are semi-closed from the back by those multi-story buildings. The main courtyard is located in the centre of building complex, not only making all surrounding buildings  can access to inner large green space, but also breaking the transport barrier between huge size buildings. Besides, a broad business district obliquely crosses through the main courtyard, connecting south nature landscape belt with northeast main road, as a function of leading people from all directions to different parts of building, and also reaching the need of fire exits.

Both in the west and north, where buildings are facing with two main streets, are set up with a set of essential functions, such as government & financial halls and conference centers, respectively. In contrast, innovation & business service platform and book centre are located at relative quite area, away from the main road. Specifically, the innovation & business service platform consists of two towers, is the highest part in this building complex. What worth to be mentioned, the units of this service platform are organized in the form of cyclic groups, as the optimal option to maximally meet functions of  innovation & business service platform. This result is based on seriously study on the relationship between office, lab and social space in such kind of buildings.

The grid for this building complex is with basic modulus of 1.5m and office space with length of 16.5m, which precisely meet the requirement of underground garage in hexagonal grid system. Furthermore, it provides a variety of office layout mode as long as the length is reasonable, E.g. no matter in open office space, closed office space, or mixed operating mode, all can be achieved, ensuring the flexibility of different function settings.

The electron in integrated circuits is an epitome of technological era, and is also a symbol to the power of science and remarkable progress in the past several decades. For façade, there are two different width shading façade modules, according to different inner façade functions.  Those two façades, together with the white solid walls, show a strong contrast in three different colors, which is kind of an abstractive simulation of integrated circuits, to illustrate high-tech building properties like, high-speed, simple, sharp and dynamic.



Huachu Ruizhao Gas Station


Huachu RuiZhao gas station has been cooperatively built by Shanxi Huachu Oil& Gas Co., Ltd. and Shanxi Ruizhao Gas Co., Ltd..

The design of gas station mainly shows a wonderful image of future city and high-techs. Highlights its modern structure through LED light belt on the roof. Light belt with colors orange and blue that represent Huachu Oil& Gas Co., Ltd.  and Ruizhao Gas Co., Ltd.these two companies, respectively. Directly tells customers what stored in this station, oil, natural gas or oil-gas mixture.

Every spot was established with a 24-h convenient store, a car repair and wash service and open-access washrooms.  Building shapes was designed to echo building materials in term of different section characteristics based on site location, making the building become a part of  fantastic landscape delivering a modern or fashion sence.


Jianshe Road Complex


The project is located at a land that both southern and northern sides are quite long and narrow. Because of influence from railway on east side and road construction on west side, it is planned to become a boundary between those two parts by fully use the land. furthermore, the building was divided into three parts through partition, avoided long facade to bring a sense of closure and pressure. The bottom floor in northern building was provoked partly, proved a special outdoor public space at the crossroad of Shuangta Si Street and Jianshe Nan Street. The first and second floors in the shape of body echoed the northerly inclined line, and can be rented out separately as commercial  spaces.

Tower´s 3rd to 15th floors are all office areas, flexible and separable open office spaces are remarkably created under extremely intensive space use condition. One side of both vertical transport centers has setup multilayer-high green atrium, and through clear glass people can enjoy city sighting while talking  and relaxing. At space where  are inconvenient for usage on northern building, a public sightseeing platform was built for all citizens. People can reach 40 meter high or 60 meter high two sightseeing platforms directly from north small square via non-stop elevator, and to platforms´east, the famous YongZuo Temple comes into view. For people on the street and in the building, this open area likes a viewfinder make the hole itself blends into the surrounding scenery, views changes with different perspectives.

On the one hand, the building facade design needs to consider in landmark significance, mainly through people flow and the fast-moving car or train flows. It emphasizes the dynamic image of architecture. On the other hand,  double glazing system was established in consider of east side noise and west side sun lighting.

Double grazing has significant ecological energy conservation function. Through opening design in different positions on the external wall, double grazing has natural ventilation, making cold and hot air can exchange and finally achieve heat insulation. Besides, the application of  window position design and special glass material block sunlight in summer, absorb sunlight in winter, to meet the goal of creating a comfortable working environment.


Yinli Shopping Center


Comparing with the surrounding buildings, Yinli shopping center integrated building has a semi-open facade  formed by vertical white wall and veranda acts as the grey space between indoor space and city streets, and as the main transportation space veranda forms a friendly commercial atmosphere.

The whole building body is fully with geometrically vertical partition, eye-catching visual impact, and sense of modern, meanwhile, integrated sympathetically into surroundings. The outer facade is in white color and with glassy fences in order to avoid blocking the signboards behind them, and also enforcing fantasy transparent version. The inner facade consists of dark grey bricks, recalling people´s memory of the boom of traditional shops in Shanxi.


Jinshangu Innovation Park A-19


The project as one out of eight international sustainable low-energy buildings is located on the central landscape axis of Jinshangu Innovation Park, Panyu district, Guangzhou. It consists of 5 overground floors and 1 underground floor in height limit of 24 meters.  The east and south sides of building are south-north and east-west landscape axises of the Innovation Park, respectively.

This project was undertook by design principles of EnEv German Building Energy Consumption Regulars and DGNB German Sustainable Development System, aims to establish a green office building that is low-energy, low carbon, efficient, comfortable, and with international advanced technologies and also German characteristics. In order to obtain the most cost-effective office spaces and attractive common area, working outside model was carried out to maximally increase natural lighting area and create high efficient work flow. The office building is based on whole building or individual floor those two types sale and renting modes, arranged reasonably by considering in factors like functions, sound insulation, flow and so on.

Sealed heat insulation and low-energy external structure is crucial in German passive building. It includes proper measure applications in walls, door and window materials, shading, ventilation, and so on. In this project design, we used different measures in terms of different natural environment (e.g. solar radiation, solar elevation angle, wind direction, wind speed, precipitation, and so on) will lead to different influences on building facade, in order to minimize building energy consumption.

Office building flow was aimed to be efficient and simple. In northern building, there is a main office entrance at the west side, and a main commercial entrance at the east side, similarly, in southern building, there are office and commercial sub entrances on two sides, respectively. The inner connected corridor was set up around ecological patio, becoming the horizontal transport bridge connected all office areas. The stairs and sightseeing elevators on both east and west sides of building are mainly vertical transport tools.

Low-carbon and low-energy are the key focuses of this project. There three steps were followed in this project: first, minimize building energy consumption by application in intelligent sustainable maintenance structure; secondly, further reduce in energy consumption and improve office space comfortability by application of low-energy consumption equipments; thirdly, create a low-carbon, sustainable new office building through recycling and reusing clear energy.


Smart Green Tower


Discover more on the Official Website of Smart Green Tower >>

Digital Transformation in Cities

A building that not only powers itself, but surrounding ones as well?

If a car can run on a lithium-ion battery (think Tesla), why not a city block too? Introducing a vastly superior way of constructing life and work space for people everywhere: Imagine a battery-operated building powered solely by the sun. Now imagine an entire neighborhood whose only energy source is solar.

In partnership with Siemens, Fraunhofer Institue for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) and others, Frey Architekten has developed the Smart Green Tower with about 70 one- to four-room apartments along with offices. High performance-cell PV panels with excellent low-light performance and an innovative interconnection system of the sockets along the façade are being developed, while energy storage of about 0.5 MWh in the form of a lithium-ion battery, enhanced by vanadium redox flow batteries, will help link the building and the district.

The building management system will use a direct current (DC) intermediate circuit rather than the standard alternating current (AC) transmission and distribution of electrical energy. As the project developers put it: “In the case of a supply via an AC-coupled photovoltaic battery system,“ says Mr. Frey, “the generated direct current of the PV generator is rectified in the battery, then if necessary reconverted again in alternating current and distributed, in order to again be rectified in many devices – with correspondingly high efficiency losses.”

The energy concept is based mainly on the following aspects:

  • own energy generation based on renewable energy sources, in a volume that temporarily exceeds own consumption and can thus be used by other buildings in the neighbourhood
  • flexible internal energy storage in larger dimension, with the option to connect further energy producers in the district
  • optimised handling of energy pursuant to the current offer, demand and from a cost perspective within the building
  • provision of balanced energy loads from the building in conjunction with the adjoining district, to the Smart Grid over an intelligent connection

From a Green City to a Smart Green City

Thus, the energy concept of the Smart Energy Tower is fundamentally different from projects in which only single, self-contained buildings merely produce energy for own consumption or else feed the aforementioned into the grid. It is thus also consistent with the objectives of the Green City and will seamlessly be incorporated into Freiburg’s new energy- and resource-optimised commercial area GIP – Green Industry Park, to which the northern industrial area planning to be remodelled.

The vision: Such a network of several intelligent objects works optimally in an intelligent grid, and thus forms the basis for innovative district concepts, in which various Smart Energy Buildings communicate in a meaningful way – the Smart Energy District. This idea leads to the vision of a Smart Energy City, in which the Smart Energy neighbourhoods coalesce into an urban network.


Interview with Wolfgang Frey about the Smart Green Tower (english / german subtitles):


Design: Taiyuan Wuyi Retail Center


Wuyi Plaza is the largest square in the City of Taiyuan. It is divided into two parts – the north and the south half. Numerous high rises, luxury hotels, office towers and shopping centers are arranged around the square. Hence, this location is also one of the most vibrant centers in the City of Taiyuan.

The Wuyi Retail Center will be built on Wuyi Plaza and is slated to comprise 4 towers. It boasts a total floor space of 66,000 square meters, which will house shopping, offices and services under a single roof. The area south of the Wuyi Plaza construction site is dominated by a large number of high rises. For planning purposes, the existing high rises do pose a major challenge: How can excessive shade cast by these high rises be averted without limiting the new center’s own volume due to the fact that the building will not be as tall as the surrounding towers?

The primary planning goal is to ensure that the Wuyi Retail Center will be aligned with the existing urban structure in such a manner that it completes it and simultaneously increases the quality of the space. Hence, the towers in the east and the west will be positioned in parallel to the respective streets. The two towers in the south have the same orientation as the neighboring buildings. These four buildings will frame a lowered plaza. Plans call for the integration of multiple entrances and exits to manage the streams of pedestrians in the basement more effectively. The high line passageways on the second and third floor, which connect all four towers with each other, provide additional pathways. The passageways also create outdoor levels, which bring the entire area to life.

The rounded buildings narrow gradually from base to top. This minimizes any shadow effects for the adjacent buildings. The facades will be finished in white stucco. The placement of emphasis on the horizontal elements will reinforce the uniformity of the four towers.


Taiyuan Logistics Center


On a land parcel encompassing approximately 216,000 square meters located in the Chinese City of Taiyuan in the Shanxi Province, a new, multi-functional logistics center will be erected to provide 699,000 square meters of operating space. Among other things, the building complex will house offices, exhibit space and warehouses as well as hotel. A large-scale utilization structure paired with complex, interior developments make this project very unique.

Southern complex:
The southern complex comprises facilities for warehouse space, merchandise presentation, media meetings, events and conferences as well as offices. This part is considered a multi-functional industrial park that offers fresh dynamics and will attract both, Chinese and foreign businesses who will occupy the space. The futuristic architecture gives this rounded building a uniform and seamless appearance.

Given the size of the structure and the complexity of the functional needs, Frey Architekten made sure that the architectural plans first divided the overall structure into different construction phases based on the respective functions. Dedicated court yards and traffic systems exist within the construction zones. “Floating walkways” (connecting bridges) connect the individual buildings. The façade windows emphasize the horizontal layout and underscore the flowing form.

Not only do the walkways connect the different zones; they also offer leeway for a diverse interior design by making available vast areas where employees and visitors can move about or meet. On the higher floors, the connecting bridges also assume the functions of lookout platforms.

Northern complex:
The administrative center is located in the northern part of complex. The architecture features rounded off buildings with multi-corner courtyards. The architectural planning focuses on the “green office” philosophy, which imparts a sense of working in the heart of a relaxed, natural setting.

Plants around the building create a garden landscape. The buildings as such also have the appearance of vertical gardens. Zones reserved exclusively for pedestrians can be found on the ground floor, where people can relax and linger.

The office areas on the top floors are nestled into pleasant environments and exterior green zones for relaxation. Decorative plants are flourishing in this garden landscape in their respective seasons so that the ever-changing abundance of natural colors keeps pampering the senses throughout the year.

The concept of changing colors is also evident on the facades. The blinds are painted in a variety of colors. Hence, the colors change depending on the viewing angle and perspective.


Design: Hetai Ziyuan, Taiyuan


The Hetai Ziyuan building complex is located in the new Longcheng Quarter of the City of Taiyuan, right by the main traffic hub. Line 2 underground railway station Zhongxinjie West can be found in the immediate proximity. The complex is just 4.5 km from the southern railways station Taiyuan and only 6.5 km from the Wusu Airport. Hence, this complex boasts ideal traffic connections.

The vision the architectural planning is based upon is an analysis of the functions of the individual buildings. The goal of the commercial functions is to integrate the entire building complex. An S-shaped downstream pedestrian zone runs from the south to the north where it grants access to a half-open plaza, which is the main shopping mile within the building complex. In the east, the shopping street borders on the main traffic hub. The spacious roofs of the office buildings offer penthouse residents a separate private space.

The so-called “hallway tree” breaks with the tradition that limits the functions of a hallway to the connection of the rooms on the same floor. Several of these hallway trees connect the rooms in the basement and top floors throughout the entire building complex, which makes the entire structure come alive.

The office buildings located in the northeast are the focal points of the entire building complex. They are reminiscent of leaves sprouting straight from the ground and symbolize the force of life and evolution. Around sunset, the interior lighting illuminates them. As a result, they create the image of a tree in the sky that baths the residents in light from above.

The “lines” running through the leaves are composed of solar collectors. On the one hand, they deliver an interesting interplay of light and shadows on the public areas on the top floor; on the other hand, they store the warmth of the sun and collect rainwater.
They are – in every sense of the word – the fruit of intelligent technology and architecture.