With the natural environment under constant stress from urban development, pollution and population increases, it’s about time that architecture (and humanity) gave back a little. If you think about it, many of the most beloved artistic and architectural movements are patterned and inspired by nature. They were born out of a need to mold new modern lifestyles with the environment, to preserve that basic human connection to nature.
Those ideas are nice in theory, but the blending of nature with manmade structures has become an ongoing and necessary project to preserve the ecosystem. There are plenty of residential and commercial projects demonstrating this green architectural trend. With the clever application of plants, trees and soil in architecture, homes and buildings can become self-sufficient, efficiently consume energy, promote biodiversity and improve the air quality around them.
Take a look at the following structures that do just that, great examples of what green living means these days (and hopefully in the future):
Designed by Fritz de Vries Architects + Associates Ltd., this modern home has a penchant for rooftop gardens, effectively using nature to keep the energy consumption down. In addition to encouraging local plant development, the plants have a symbiotic relationship with the house. They act as a natural barrier to the elements to cool the house more efficiently and to decrease rainwater runoff.
Located in Torino, Italy, this apartment building by Luciano Pia is meant to be a green living community for people and nature to grow together. The architecture itself is heavily wooden, with naturalistic imagery throughout the dense jungle of floors and spaces, allowing the plant life to look as if it has taken over. And in a sense that is the point of this project, which fully encourages the self-sustaining properties of the trees and plant life.
Located a hop, skip and jump from Buckingham Palace, this green wall definitely stands out in London’s distinct architectural landscape. The idea behind the wall is to not only add some natural aesthetic beauty, but to find a solution to urban flooding. The vertical garden can absorb runoff from the roof above, helping to reduce flooding while simultaneously nourishing the ecosystem living within the wall. Other benefits include noise reduction and improved air-quality.
At first glance, this spa by MIA Design Studio in Vietnam looks like nature has taken over. But the man versus nature concept is quite intentional. The hanging gardens create a tranquil environment for visitors of this spa retreat, while also acting as a natural cooling system for the building.
Still in its beginning stages, former President Obama is set to build his presidential library in Chicago’s South Side, with a nod to his familial roots and environmental policies. The drawings display a very eco-friendly facade, where the buildings are meant to blend-in with the environment with the help of rooftop gardens.
These are, of course, only a few examples of the new green living trend. Are there other examples you’ve seen? Please share them with us in the comments below.