Guest Post: Four Environmental Innovations That Have Revolutionized Architecture
The green revolution has impacted almost every sector of the economy. Now, eco-friendly technology is revolutionizing the way we think about architecture. Every part of the architectural process is undergoing huge changes.
When people think of green architecture, they often picture simple modifications, such as the substitution of environmentally friendly materials for less sustainable ones. While this can certainly be a viable means of reducing a project’s carbon footprint, it is by no means the only way to make a positive impact. Often, the best green projects are the ones that go above and beyond, completely altering the way people think of architecture as a whole. The following are just a few of the spectacular developments taking place in architecture today.
With vast populations shifting from rural to urban environments, it is important to find a way to incorporate the wonders of nature into the big city. Botanist Patrick Blanc has accomplished this through the development of an innovative vertical garden. Currently located in the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, Blanc’s vertical garden is capable of being added to any climatic environment, indoors or out. The vertical garden can even be adjusted to act as a set of green blinds, used to keep the building cooler in the summer in lieu of traditional window treatments. Don’t let traditional gardens limit you: grow your garden of edibles, annuals and perennials on walls, rails and fences.
Environmentally sound structures do not have to be weak. In fact, some of the sturdiest buildings out there are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. An excellent example of this phenomenon is Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest buildings, located in Taiwan. Taipei 101 possesses a LEED Platinum certification for the sustainable nature in which it was built and is currently maintained. The tower’s modern design was developed with the express purpose of withstanding earthquakes, typhoons and other natural disasters common in Taiwan.
In the past, roofs served solely as covering for homes and businesses. Today, with limited amounts of space in overcrowded cities, architects are rethinking the entire roof concept. In Hong Kong, the terminal roof for the National High Speed Rail Network doubles as a walking path for visitors. Not only does this help to ease some of the congestion typical of a terminal, it makes use of an otherwise empty space so the building doesn’t have to expand and eat up more resources. Best of all, this unique roof encourages passengers to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors in the middle of the city!
Skyscrapers are rarely environmental paradises, but all that is changing with the popularity of rooftop gardening and asymptote architecture. Take for example the development of the Velo Towers in South Korea. These stunning skyscrapers feature unique layouts complete with skyways and rooftop gardens. Both the building facades and the inside residential units are built using eco-friendly prefabricated parts. The result is a tower that is both inexpensive to construct and easy on the environment.
Eco-friendly architecture does not have to be ugly or impractical. Architects all over the world are proving that green building can be a viable solution for many of the most urgent problems plaguing urban populations.
Author: Justin Greig is a self-proclaimed “21st century hippie” who studied Journalism at Berkeley and freelances for many environmental publications. He has a special interest in conservation, and he and his wife recently added solar panels to their home.
Photo credits: Deposit Photos