Marina Barrage, Singapore

8 Sustainable Structures That Have Redefined Green Architecture

From preserving our planet’s finite natural resources with high-performance utilities, to building with biodegradable materials rather than hazardous chemical compounds, to curbing greenhouse gases with strategic nature displays, these architectural marvels lead the industry in environmental consciousness.

Marina Barrage & Reservoir, Singapore

This urban dam structure and prominent tourist attraction has received the Building & Construction Agency’s sought-after Green Mark Platinum Infrastructure Award for eco-friendly practices in water conservation and waste minimization. Featuring innovative design elements like 100% recycled materials, double-glazed windows, solar panels, rooftop green spaces and reservoir drainage systems, the Marina Barrage generates 76,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, while saving 1,400,000 liters of water.

Marina Barrage, Singapore(Source: Tierra Design)

Lululemon Athletica Headquarters, Vancouver

This corporate building, known to its activewear-clad occupants as the Store Support Center, upholds Lululemon’s tenet of sustainability through various energy efficient amenities including high-performance lighting, low-flow bathroom fixtures and, most notably, a vertical garden. Created by Canadian design firm Green Over Grey, this hydroponic “living wall” utilizes plant power to regulate internal temperatures, naturally purify the air circulation and mitigate the hazardous impact of carbon emissions.

green wall(Source: Green Over Grey)

The Westin Gurgaon Hotel, New Delhi

This deluxe resort property, located in the capital city’s thriving business and entertainment district, combines sleek and modern architectural concepts with the latest upgrades in environmental consciousness. From suites equipped with high-efficiency lighting and plumbing, to responsibly made furniture, floors and decor, to a courtyard oasis surrounded by rainwater irrigated fountains, The Westin Gurgaon promotes India’s Smart City sanitation, waste management and energy renewal initiative.

Westin Hotel, Gurgaon, India(Source: Tierra Design)

Les Halles Central Market, Avignon

This horticultural structure, actualized by the illustrious French botanist Patrick Blanc, is an organic mural beautifying the exterior of suburban Paris’ quintessential bakery and marketplace. Having invented the Mur Vegetal—or, vertical garden—approach to eco-friendly architecture, Blanc has transformed this ordinary edifice into a sustainable artform that oxygenates the atmosphere, while preserving natural resources through its climate-controlled thermic and phonic isolation technique.

Les Halles Central Market, Avignon(Source: Patrick Blanc)

Microsoft Corporation Headquarters, Seattle

This state-of-the-art software development facility has partnered with the Green Grid Consortium and Climate Savers Computing Initiative to become more energy efficient in multiple aspects of its business model. With a solar-powered data center that produces 400 kilowatt-hours of electricity, a 3-5% reduced plug load output of cyber devices and a consistent effort to purge over 1.5 million pounds of plastic waste, the Microsoft corporation has significantly neutralized its carbon footprint.

Microsoft Corporation Headquarters, Seattle(Source: Green Over Grey)

Cottonwood Cove Resort & Marina, Las Vegas

This floating office complex serves as the nerve center of this recreational retreat, and has been designated the world’s first LEED-certified building of its kind. Located about one hour outside the Sin City strip, this “floatel” perches on the surface of Lake Mohave where its eco-friendly construction features decking made from rice hulls, stucco made from recycled tires, organic paint compounds, high-performance HVAC equipment and a sustainable 40-year lifespan that requires minimal maintenance.

Lake Meade National Recreation Area(Source: Lake Meade National Recreation Area)

Tangerine Bank Headquarters, Toronto

This downtown command post of the largely paperless Canadian banking firm merges an industrial design aesthetic with the vertical garden trend to curtail air-conditioning costs by approximately 20%. Besides moderating office ventilation needs, the indoor green space also contributes toward offsetting the urban heat island effect throughout this entire metropolitan area. In addition, Tangerine Bank complies with the Equator Principles’ global framework for social and environmental risk management.

Tangerine Bank Headquarters(Source: Green Over Grey)

CaixaForum Cultural Center, Madrid

This 1800s-era power plant turned contemporary museum is a prime example of how abandoned infrastructures can be renovated into local landmarks, rather than polluting the atmosphere with demolition exhaust. Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron have collaborated with Patrick Blanc to create a visual juxtaposition between weathered iron and vibrant foliage. Four stories in height, this “living wall” is comprised of 250 plant species and thrives on automated, energy-independent irrigation.

Caixa Forum Madrid(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Ted Rollins, of Greenville, SC., serves on the regional Environmental Defense Fund board. He has played an active role in regenerative practices globally as a board member of CLEAR, the Center for Living Environments. Throughout the years, Ted’s work has taken him across the US as a leading developer, builder, owner and manager of high-quality, purpose-built housing properties, with a focus on environmentally sustainable housing. Follow Ted on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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