Home > Sustainable Locations > Sustainable Building Around the World

Sustainable Building Around the World

By: James Murray-White - Updated: 2 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Building Sustainable Environment World

Sustainable building has taken off round the world, with developments happening in one country being copied and improved upon in another.

This is in part due to increased media coverage and social awareness of the issues affecting the environment through climate change, and an understanding of the need to use less of the earth's resources.

The American architect Michael Hodges, featured in the third case study, summed this up when interviewed for a new documentary film, 'Garbage Warrior' (2007) talks of his wish to design and build dwellings that "use no resources whatsoever - they should produce energy and food from within."

Architects share information about technological innovations and improved design, and study developments worldwide that enable them to build more ecologically stable buildings, both for use as homes and as offices or community or commercial use. Sustainably minded architects and designers will also know or study the local environment to see what specific issues might effect, or be incorporated into, a future new build.

Case Study One: 'The Gherkin' Building, London

30 St Mary Axe, London is the address of perhaps the most unusual, and sustainable building in the UK. This building, owned by a Financial Services firm, built by renowned British architect Sir Norman Foster in 2004 has been nicknamed the gherkin for its highly unusual shape. It is built of a diagrid steel network, which enables it to be free of columns.

Sustainable innovations in the building include a reduced wind load, and a cooling system within that draws air through panels in the façade. These have been made possible by the building's sleek aerodynamic profile.Subsequently the Gherkin uses half as much energy as other comparable office buildings. Abundant natural light is also a major feature.

Case Study Two: Building with Internal Greenhouses, Wuhan, China

Two Israeli architects, Tagit Klimor and David Knafo, based in Haifa, Israel, have designed a high-rise sustainable energy complex, and are in the process of building it in Wuhan Province, China.

The project is unique because each apartment will have its own integral greenhouse, enabling the occupiers to grow their own food. The architects even envisage apartment owners growing enough produce to sell. The greenhouses will be about 100 ft. square, with special features installed such as climate control, drip irrigation, rainwater collection from the roof, and the use of soil-free growing systems. Water will also be recycled collectively from each apartment.

The design won this year's prize from the 2nd annual living steel International Architecture competition for Sustainable design, held in Belgium in September 2007.

Case Study Three: Earthships and More, Taos, New Mexico

Michael Reynolds is an extraordinary eco-architect living and working in the New Mexico Desert. For over 30 years he has been pioneering all types of sustainable architecture - building with discarded rubber tyres, building with discarded plastic bottles, and experimenting with solar gain and thermal mass issues in a range of buildings and styles, that he freely admits are sometimes 'mistakes'.

British director Oliver Hodge documents the life of this pioneer architect in a new documentary film 'Garbage Warrior' (2007). In the film, Reynolds admits he isn't optimistic for human society in the future, and part of the film shows him struggle against local politicians to continue the experimental work of design and construction for the future.

However this is mitigated as viewers see Reynolds and his construction crew fly to the Andaman Islands after the 2006 Tsunami and build earth houses for the devastated survivors. They also did this for residents of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina had wreaked havoc there.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
SEARCH OUR SUSTAINABLE BUILD DIRECTORY...
IN TOWN / POSTCODE:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Mike
    Re: Reclaimed Materials
    This is a cheeky message... Nextdoor neighbour of a friend of mine (naively) has been taken for £6000 by a pair of builders who wouldn't even…
    6 October 2019
  • Siddh
    Re: Sustainable Lighting
    My name is Siddh Patel and I attend Queen Elizabeth's School for Boys in London, England. For my exam in product design, I would like to…
    5 October 2019
  • Stoner
    Re: Stone Construction
    You're wrong by saying slate is only suitable for roofs and floors. I build with slate stone all the time. Local Cornish quarrys have a many…
    20 September 2019
  • Alf
    Re: Stone Construction
    It is worth remembering that the villages of Groby and Swithland in North Leicestershire are on slate outcrops. Groby slate was used by the…
    10 September 2019
  • Tony Fursland
    Re: Compost Toilets
    Allotments in Kent. Composting toilet please. No electricity or water. Price / available
    15 August 2019
  • Michelle
    Re: Environmentally Friendly, Non Toxic Paint
    The article is misleading. A biobased chemical is identical to the one made from petroleum. It is called a…
    14 August 2019
  • Ahmad
    Re: Careers and Courses for Eco Build
    Hi i Ishtiaq Ahmad is interested in environmental design courses
    14 August 2019
  • Rasmia
    Re: Careers and Courses for Eco Build
    hi. do you have any short course on sustainability or green building for 3 to 6months in UK? please confirm me the date…
    1 August 2019
  • Sangita Budhathoki
    Re: Grants and Loans for Green Development
    Hi, This is Sangita from Nepal. I've looking for funding support for the project that helps to encourage to save the…
    29 July 2019
  • Indi
    Re: Greenfield Sites
    Currently in the process of purchasing a property with we have now found out that’s it’s a green field site of 6acres and we have been told that…
    21 July 2019