7 Great Examples of Environmentally-Friendly Building Designs / by Crystal Wimperis

Ecological Architecture Is Changing How We Live.

Did you know you can design a building to automatically be environmentally friendly?

Ecological or green architecture means designing and building a structure with sustainability and life practice in mind. But it goes beyond just this.

Certain environmental buildings can integrate landscapes and earth systems. Ecological architecture means integrating sustainable materials with eco-conscious urban and rural lifestyles.

Architects can even get a degree in environmental architecture.

Read on to learn more about examples of eco-friendly design that are changing the way we live on earth.

1. The Eco Villa of Mauritius

The Eco Villa of Mauritius

The Eco Villa of Mauritius

A primary principle of ecological architecture is design that works with surrounding landscapes. Environmentally friendly structures don't impose on the land. They blend in and even work with a landscape so that it's almost as if they're emerging from it.

The Foster and Partners design plans for an eco villa, released in 2006 but not completed in reality, present an amazing example of structures that work with the surrounding landscape.

These design plans were initially set for a residential community in Mauritius. The buildings rely on indigenous materials in construction and aesthetically "flow" into the lush surroundings.

Open concept rooms, inviting windows, and simple design compose this light and pleasing villa.

2. Hyperion Towers

Hyperion Towers

Hyperion Towers

While the Mauritius Eco Villa has yet to emerge, the Hyperion Tower Blocks of New Delhi may become a reality in 2020.

Paris architect Vincent Callebaut, inspired by the tall Hyperion trees of northern California, has designed fully functioning, sustainable tower blocks that have an energy output greater than what they'll actually use.

At thirty-six stories high, this tower complex will include farms, homes, gyms, restaurants, and more--a veritable ecosystem of urban ecology. The towers are designed to take advantage of air real estate but also to create a community of ecological consciousness.

The towers will integrate urban farms with special crop rotation and domestic animals for dairy and meat production. Agricultural by-products will then be used for alternative forms of energy.

The designs for these towers are positively dreamy, reminding one of Avatar or another world. Stem-like wooden towers curve up to the sky, connected by a gentle swirl of beams and green.

3. The Bamboo Skyscraper

The Bamboo Skyscraper

The Bamboo Skyscraper

In a similar arena as the Hyperion Towers of New Delhi, GRG Architects have designed an incredible series of skyscrapers all made out of bamboo, one of the lightest materials on earth.

This design placed as a semifinalist in the World Architecture Festival. It consists of a series of bamboo towers spiraled together--recalling a traditional bamboo forest of tropical climates.

The reason why this form of ecological architecture is so innovative is because of its materials. Bamboo takes only five years to mature and grows easily. It also is tough and fibrous, despite being so light.

The design connects cross-tied bamboo with steel bracing and supports.

4. Our H20use

Our H20use

Our H20use

In response to the recent severe onset of drought in California, students at UC Davis designed this sustainable home with water consciousness in mind.

This innovative form of ecological architecture is solar-powered and built entirely for the purpose of water conservation. It conserves over fifty percent of water typical homes consume and is constructed with wood felled during drought season.

Smart technology and window systems elevate energy efficiency. This home is a great example of architecture built around an environmental need.

5. The Sustainability Treehouse

The Sustainability Treehouse

The Sustainability Treehouse

This incredible building is situated in the Summit Bechtel Reserve and is designed for education about sustainability and ecological ways of life. It really is a treehouse, soaring up into the beautiful trees of this nature reserve.

Visitors can learn about eco-conscious stewardship and the principles of ecological architecture--making this one of the best examples of environmental design out there!

Visitors can learn about different levels of an ecosystem as they progress through the treehouse, composed of a steel frame. You can even see the architecture at work, learning about the water cleansing system, alternative energy sources, and other technologies.

6. Nanyang Technical University in Singapore

Nanyang Technical University

Nanyang Technical University

For a fantastic example of ecological architecture that is both environmentally-friendly and beautiful, check out the green-roofed School of Art, Design, & Media at the Technical University of Singapore.

This structure is five stories high with an abundance of glass windows. The effect is highly energy efficient because the building is designed in a swirling semi-circle and minimizes heat loss.

But the roofs themselves of this building are entirely green. Lawns completely carpet the tops of the building, blending urban and rural landscapes. But they aren't just there to be pretty--these lawns serve as gathering spaces, insulation, and sustainable ecosystems.

7. BedZed



One of the greatest potentials of ecological architecture is its ability to inform a way of life. Some of the best examples of this type of architecture are in the form of neighborhoods and sustainable communities.

BedZed, in the United Kingdom, is one such sustainable community composed of environmentally friendly structures. It is essentially an eco-village suburbia, designed around the desire to leave as small a footprint on the earth as possible.

This community operates off of One Planet living principles, meaning that sustainable practices keep it afloat. All the homes are solar heated and energized by a network of photovoltaic panels, underground heating system, and insular concrete.

Water conservation also informs all life practices in this community. While these buildings aren't zero emission, they come pretty close.

Ecological Architecture: The Way of the Future

Designing environmentally friendly buildings is essential given the world's issues with climate change, water conservation needs, and an ever-growing population. Ecological architecture really is a way of life, integrating sustainable practices with existing landscapes.

When it comes to the best examples of ecological structures, you'll find whimsical but intentional designs for light and longterm living. The Eco Villa of Mauritius presents a design that is seamless with its surroundings and built from indigenous materials. Bamboo skyscrapers and the lovely Hyperion towers showcase how urban spaces can create environmentally conscious structures.

The green-roofed design of Singapore's School of Art weaves together rural and urban, while the BedZed community shows how ecologically-mindful buildings can bring communities together.

At Artefact Studio, we believe in the power of seamless and elegant design. We also are fully behind the movement toward green architecture. Browse our services to get a sense of what we can offer you at any stage of your construction project.

Or reach out today to have a conversation about eco-friendly design. We'd love to chat.