Fri, April 30, 2010
Sci-Tech > Technology

12 creative eco-friendly architectural designs

2010-04-28 02:57:22 GMT2010-04-28 10:57:22 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, April 27(Xinhuanet) -- The sustainable development has already become one of the main themes all around the world. More and more people have started to change their lifestyles for us and even for our sons. To meet the requirements of sustainable development, we should construct more eco-friendly buildings and encourage eco-industry.

Following 12 giant environment-friendly architectural designs may inspire you.

1. Dubai's solar-powered vertical village

  Dubai's solar-powered vertical village (Photo Source:

Amazing land Dubai has already constructed a series of architectural miracles, such as the latest Burj Dubai. Except for sand and oil, what kind of other resources does Dubai own? The answer is enough solar energy.

Graft Lab's Vertical Village makes full use of this plentiful resource with a surface that is angled specifically with solar energy collection.

The cluster of mixed-use buildings includes solar collectors on the south end that automatically pivot for maximum exposure.

2. Spain's bubble-shaped freshwater factory

  Spain's bubble-shaped freshwater factory (Photo Source:

This freshwater factory is comprised of a series of biospheres stacked on top of each other. From outside, it looks like soap bubbles. The glass domes of this eccentric tower play a vital role: filtering seawater into freshwater through mangrove trees, which draw in saltwater and perspire freshwater.

Once the mangroves release this precious substance, it evaporates and condenses into dew which collects in freshwater tanks.

3. One & Ortakoy, Istanbul

  One & Ortakoy, Istanbul (Photo Source:

This multifunctional architectural complex, named "One & Ortakoy", is located in Istanbul of Turkey. Its curving, organic forms and rolling roofs are covered in greenery and flowers. The under-constructed complex consists of two buildings with natural stone facades. One is complex, the other is commercial.

4. Green-roofed high school, France

  Green-roofed high school, France (Photo Source:

The Marcel Sembat high school in Sotteville-les-Rouen of France is situated next to a park and almost disappears into the trees and grass of its surroundings.

The extension projects include a restaurant, students' dormitories, staff housing and workshops. Their green, waved roof will provide natural heal insulation.

5. Water tower skyscraper brings freshwater to Sudan

  Water tower skyscraper brings freshwater to Sudan (Photo Source:

In the vast Sudanese desert, freshwater become one of the most precious resources. Ironically, deep under the dry, hot surface is the largest underground lake in the world, which would change residents' lives dramatically if it were tapped.

Polish architecture firm H3AR imagines a solution: Buildings are inspired by both water towers and the native baobab tree, which would access the water through underground pumps. These towers would contain a water treatment plant, a hospital, a school and a food storage center.

6. Massive rain-catching skyscraper

  Massive rain-catching skyscraper (Photo Source:

How could a building capture as much rain as possible? Polish architecture firm H3AR may offer an answer: Through a web of gutters covering the entire exterior, which would then direct the water to a processing plant for use in toilets, washing machines, cleaning and plant watering.

This huge "skin" is combined with a bowl-shaped rainwater collector on the roof for maximum rainwater catchment capabilities.

7. De-Centralized Sustainable Society

  De-Centralized Sustainable Society (Photo Source:

This architectural design is not only for creating a building or a city, but also a total redefinition of the whole society. The designers from CTRLZ architectures state that “We believe that architecture is not anymore about form and…function, but that it is about relations. The development of network systems shows us that the power resides in links and connections.”

Commerce, food production, ornamental gardens, housing, social public spaces and energy collection are all combined with a way of emphasizing the cooperation of residents.

8. Subterranean Greenbelt Hotel

  Subterranean Greenbelt Hotel (Photo Source:

The subterranean design of Hersham Golf Club in Surrey by ReardonSmith Architects contains five-star lodging as well as a spa and golf facilities. To avoiding unnecessary exploitation of the Earth, the UK has established a green belt. This subterranean design meets the requirements of urban development.

Besides, this kind of design also can reduce the influence on traffic flow.

The hotel positions above-ground buildings in existing woodland so that nearby local residents maintain an unobstructed view of untouched landscape.

9. Beijing’s "reative Zone" Greenbelt

  Beijing’s "reative Zone" Greenbelt (Photo Source:

As a fast-developing metropolis, Beijing is suffering from the threat of air pollution, which calls for the creative green belt to alleviate this dilemma, in order to provide natural space for residents and prevent excessive exploitation.

UNStudio Architects won a competition to create this “creative zone”, which would become a showcase of experimental architecture.

This green belt provides locals opportunities to connect with nature while maintaining proximity to local conveniences like shops, restaurants and public transportation.

10. Masdar Sustainable City

  Masdar Sustainable City (Photo Source:

Could Masdar City is a concept of future modern metropolis. Every street, every shop, even every street lamp are sustainable. Designed by LAVA and located in Abu Dhabi, Masdar City is a planned community built to be zero-waste and zero-carbon. This design could be a vision of the future.

With housing, commerce and recreation all situated around a vast plaza, this concept aims to be a model of sustainability for the rest of the world.

11. Giant Energy-Generating Waterfall for Rio Olympics

  Giant Energy-Generating Waterfall for Rio Olympics (Photo Source:

Solar City Tower, designed by RAFAA Architecture & Design for the 2016 Rio Olympics, can utilize solar power to generate electricity in the day time and a pumped water storage system to create power after the sun goes down.

Its most remarkable point is the huge waterfall, which seems to come from the sky, just as “a symbol for the forces of nature”.

The tower could provide plenty of electricity for the Olympic Games and for the city. The magnificent waterfall only appears on special occasions.

12. Mixed-Use EcoDistrict in Dijon

  Mixed-Use EcoDistrict in Dijon (Photo Source:

Imagine living in a diverse neighborhood packed with green features galore, from vertical gardens and green roofs to bicycle paths and eco-friendly playgrounds – all adjacent to the city center.

Such “ecodistricts” are in planning around the world, including this concept for Dijon, France by EXP Architects in cooperation with Studiomustard Architecture, Sempervirens Landscape Designers and Even Conseil. The design will serve as a model for similar future developments in the same city.

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