Image: VERTICAL GARDEN PATRICK BLANC
When we hear of sustainability, the first context that comes to mind is that of the environment. But since the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) reports that almost 50% of CO2 is emitted by buildings, it’s about time sustainability is spoken widely also in the context of architecture.
As found by an MIT study, sustainable design has now become standard practice in many countries. In addition to issues related to energy, there are many other aspects, such as a healthy environment and other aspects of indoor environmental quality, which are relevant for a “truly sustainable” building.
Here are eight of our favorite green buildings around the world which are innovations shaping sustainability & modern architecture, at the same time:
Green Botanic Wall in Paris
This living wall or vertical garden, however you want to call it, was created by botanist Patrick Blanc and covers the side of a five-story Parisian block with waves of 7,600 plants. It is rightly called The Oasis of Aboukir and it features plants from 237 different species. In his words:
“I am very happy to contribute to the welfare and environmental consciousness of the inhabitants of a historic district in the heart of Paris.” ~ Patrick Blanc
The Matchbox Tiny House
I first got introduced to the concept of tiny houses in a 2016 documentary about Minimalism. A tiny house designer, Jay Austin, spoke about moving out from a $1,200/month apartment into a self-designed tiny home. The reason behind people deciding to live in such tiny houses apart from life simplification, self-sufficiency, and sound fiscal plans is also environmental consciousness. Smaller house, smaller environmental footprint!
Green Office Park in Indonesia
Indonesia is not specifically known for being an environmentally friendly country, but it seems like Green Building Council Indonesia is making steps towards ensuring a sustainable future and attaining carbon neutral climate, and they plan on doing it by ‘green building’. What ‘green building’ comprises, according to them, is an appropriate site development, energy efficiency, water conservation, material resources and cycle, indoor air health and comfort, and building environment management.
BSD Green Office Park is the first green office in the country, encompassing a total area of approximately 25 hectares. The district offers a park-like ambiance and is the home of 11 five-story buildings. Its eco-friendly practices have been recognized for having incorporated ‘advanced green architectures to conserve energy, water, and natural resources.’
Conscious Australian Architecture
ArchiBlox is the perfect example of a design studio who strives towards sustainable modern architecture. Even their motto is:
“We’re for making architecture more sustainable for our planet, and more accessible for everyone.”
ArchiBlox represents Avalon House, an eco-friendly home constructed in only six weeks. This green-roofed beach retreat is located in New South Wales, Australia and has a low-impact environmental footprint. From minimal construction waste to use of FSC-certified timber milled from sustainably managed forests, topped with a green roof that minimizes rainwater runoff and solar penetration. Moreover, low VOC paints and natural oils were used for the interior.
The Carbon Positive House in the Middle of the City Square
The other ArchiBlox sustainable house we were impressed by happens to also be Australia’s first carbon-positive prefab home. The most impressive thing about this solar panel-topped carbon positive house prototype is that it can produce more energy than it consumes. This prototype was displayed in Melbourne’s City Square for a certain time. This firm shows us that architects don’t have to study sustainability to create sustainable buildings that benefit people without harming the environment.
Flower Cage House in Bangkok
The greener a building, the more to our liking it is! Plus when all that green gives us something in return, like olives, we are up for it! A steel grid containing 102 olive trees fronts this house in Bangkok, designed by locally based architecture office Anonym. Called Flower Cage House, ‘the plants are intended to create a symbol of peace and also help to soften the facade’s appearance.’
Green-roofed Home in the Hamptons
Located on on eastern Long Island, New York, this Hamptons mansion is as sustainable as it can get. We’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Parisian Luxury Hotel Due in 2022
Finally, sustainability has also touched the conscious of luxury hotel architects. This high-class botanic heaven almost doesn’t even look like a hotel. This is how this sustainable and innovative luxury hotel in Paris is supposed to be like in 2022 when it is estimated to be finished.
Sustainability Is Shaping Modern Architecture
While buildings and development provide countless benefits to society, unfortunately, they also have significant environmental and health impacts. Globally and daily there is large consumption of energy, electricity, water, and other materials for buildings. But, buildings have great potential to reduce emissions on the road to sustainable development of society. Good designs for the green purpose fully assisted with energy and ecological techniques exist nowadays, so why not use them? Over the past two decades, the building industry has been faced with an increasing demand for sustainable solutions, and we couldn’t be happier.
The design of green or ecological architecture is to make human actions and decisions in daily life in a way that the lives of our next generations are not endangered. These sustainable buildings, houses, hotels and more present the new form of sustainable architecture that has the environment in mind when designed and built. It aims to be in harmony with nature and the surrounding landscape. Besides, architecture exists for the good of humanity, so why should we harm humanity’s home – Earth – on the way of doing so?
~ Dafina Zymeri
Dafina Zymeri is passionate about writing, research, and sustainability. She aims to make a difference with her writing and does it by intertwining her passions into advocating for environmental awareness. She has studied abroad herself and now wants to help others in that direction by sharing her experience into providing advice and guidance for students in her new blog Studying in Switzerland.
Dafina is a writer for SUMAS, a Sustainability Business School located in Switzerland. Respect for the environment, sustainability and green marketing are the pillars over which their work is built. The aim of SUMAS is to educate managers that will take responsible decisions which will have a delicate impact on the world. Its purpose is to deliver an innovative academic mix of sound business knowledge and a deep understanding of sustainable development.