12 Awesome Green Buildings (Of The Present And Future) From Around The World
While the phrase “green building” doesn’t exactly sound thrilling, architects worldwide are proving that function doesn’t have to trump beauty. The world’s newest ecologically friendly buildings (and concepts for future buildings that don’t actually exist yet) are both awe-inspiring and good for the planet, merging energy-saving technology with imaginative concepts that are making eco-enthusiasts everywhere drool with envy.
1. BIQ Building, Hamburg, Germany
The BIQ building may not look like much from a distance other than a square, green building, but when visitors get up close, they’ll see that those dingy-looking green panels are actually “bio-adaptive” glass panels full of algae. This genius building uses the tiny organisms to provide shade and generate biogas energy in a gloriously oozy way.
2. Residence Antilia, Mumbai, India
This mega-tower will be over 800 feet high, according to GeekAbout. It’s also being built for just one family. However, the building isn’t wholly devoted to excess; it will have several floors of gardens and will reportedly act as a “carbon sink.” Don’t think this means it’s not excessive, though — according to Forbes, it has six levels of underground parking, three helicopter pads and 600 staff members.
3. EcoARK, Taipei, Taiwan
The EcoARK is what National Geographic calls a “megastructure” — a nine-storey pavilion made out of 1.5 million recycled plastic bottles. It’s half the weight of a conventional building, was built to raise awareness of recycling, and, according to Treehugger, is strong enough to handle typhoons and earthquakes.
4. Phoenix Towers Concept, Wuhan, China
One of China’s newest ventures, the Phoenix Towers is being touted as the tallest and most eco-friendly building ever. The Guardian Liberty Voice notes that the proposed tower would be an entire kilometer high and would both collect and use wind, solar and hydrogen power as well as produce crops in its gigantic vertical farm. Planned by British architectural firm Chetwoods, the pink Phoenix Towers s intended to address some of China’s pollution problems with its “complex” air and water filtration systems. Plus it’s shiny and futuristic!
5. Menara Mesiniaga Tower, Malaysia
Finished in 1992 for IBM, Menara Mesiniaga was designed as an example of “bioclimactic skyscraper principles.” It boasts a lengthy list of technology that most buildings today don’t have: shutter-like apparatus that raise and lower to block out the light; two large inner courtyards with native Malaysian plants; and a façade that acts as a filter rather than a sealed skin, allowing for air flow. Some employees say the building can breathe.
6. School of Art, Design and Media Building, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
It might look like an optical illusion or a giant golf course, but it’s not. Called a “non-building” by the director of the architectural firm that designed it, the School of Art, Design and Media was originally intended to be left as a green landscape, according to GreenSource. Instead, it was expanded into a large building, but still allowed to blend into the landscape as a green feature. Not only does the building enhance the sense of nature on campus, it also provides increased outdoor space. Inside, it maximizes its use of natural daylight while minimizing heat penetration, says GreenSource. Although most college students probably aren’t frolicking in the grass on top of the building, it still looks like an awesome place to relax.
7. The Sliding House, Suffolk, U.K.
The Sliding House was built in 2009 for a homeowner who wanted a “unique” retirement home, according to Rates to Go. He ended up with a traditionally shaped house — but the shape was where tradition ended. The inner shell of the house is made of glass; the outer shell is made of wood, and can slide on and off the glass portion, making it easy to heat and cool and resulting in energy savings. It was shortlisted for the 2009 D&AD Awards in the Environmental Design category, leading many people to question why all houses don’t slide.
8. Silo 468, Helsinki, Finland
This one might be stretching the definition of “green” a little bit, since it’s an art installation rather than a building specifically designed to be eco-friendly, but it has enough credentials to be a member of the club; it’s a repurposed steel silo filled with LED lights, and, according to Inhabit, it’s controlled by wind. The silo used to store oil, but now it has holes punched in its sides to display patterns of light. The LEDs only come on night, and the patterns change based on the wind. It’s whimsical, but in a good way.
9. Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, UAE
This one isn’t just a building: It’s a whole city. Based on traditional Middle Eastern design and futuristic technology, Masdar City is a gorgeous fusion that is designed to be emit no carbon… and no other emissions, either. Complete with an eco market, pod cars, and a focus on “green urban development,” Masdar City aims to become a global center for renewable energy and clearly look stylish while doing so.
10. Gardens By the Bay, Singapore
Eleven of Singapore’s 18 “supertrees” filter exhaust, capture rainwater and are topped with photovoltaic cells that light up the trees at night. The vertical gardens are part of the 11-million-square-foot Gardens By the Bay complex, which contains a lake that doubles as a water filtration system and two glass biomes that achieve about a 30 percent savings in energy consumption. American cities that need greening could seriously benefit from some supertrees, which would probably capture public excitement a lot more than regular trees.
11. The Reichstag’s Mirror Dome, Berlin, Germany
Berlin’s Parliament building uses glass and mirrors to reflect outside light in, reducing its reliance on artificial lighting and drawing warm air out of the building. According to National Geographic, the Reichstag’s carbon dioxide emissions are down 94 percent thanks to this reflecting system — and to the fact that the building uses refined vegetable oil to make its own electricity. How could anyone resist something so environmentally friendly and blindingly shiny?
12. Air Trees, Madrid, Spain
Spain’s Air Trees aren’t quite as tree-shaped as Singapore’s supertrees, but they’re still a good addition to the faux tree family. They provide a myriad of benefits: shade, natural ventilation, public “green” space, and photovoltaic panels to collect solar energy and power sprinklers; according to Gizmodo, any excess energy is sold back to the power grid. These “self-sufficient gardens” are made from recycled materials and produce excess oxygen; they also look like a lot of fun to climb on, if that’s allowed. (It would be awesome if that was allowed.)