The concept of green architecture has been around for decades, but it has rapidly gained prominence in recent years. Establishing a sustainable environment necessitates the construction of green buildings that are eco-friendly and energy-efficient.
With the creativity of skilled green architects, sustainable architecture has reduced the devastating impact of construction on the environment. Energy-efficient green buildings are becoming increasingly popular as more homeowners embrace them.
What is Green Architecture?
Green architecture is all about designing sustainable buildings with the primary objective of minimizing the harmful impacts of construction on the environment and human health. Green architecture goes beyond planting green plants on walls and roofs. It also involves other sustainable aspects such as:
- Renewable power sources like wind and solar energy
- Efficient ventilation systems for cooling and heating
- Energy-efficient appliances and lighting
- Reduced harm to natural habitats
- Recycling architectural salvage
- Responsible wood-harvesting
- Maximizing natural sheltering
Most Renowned Green Architects in the World
Green architects have standard skills in architectural design and additional qualifications that demonstrate their experience and knowledge in green technology. In this article, we look at the world’s five most influential green architects who are worth recognizing.
1. Frank Lloyd Wright
According to many, he is the pioneer of green architecture. However, some individuals refute this claim arguing that sustainable architecture was there from the time of ancient Greeks. The ancient Roman aqueducts used the same principle as green architecture.
Frank Lloyd Wright did most of his work in the early 20th century. As the father of organic architecture, he designed structures in a way that they blended perfectly with their environment in natural forms. Most of these structures are still stable today.
The principles of organic architecture allowed Lloyd Wright to design diverse structures, for the simple reason that his concept was philosophical and not a construction style. Some of the structures that Wright designed include:
- Concrete Unity Temple, Illinois
- Falling Water, Pennsylvania
- Stucco-and-stone house and studio, Wisconsin
As one of Wright’s most famous designs, the Falling Water’s sustainable aspects were the surrounding waterfall and ‘paradise’ forest. By use of locally available resources, the structure integrated perfectly with nature, making it stunning. However, based on the standards set today, some of Wright’s structures might not be green.
2. Ken Yeang
Ken Yeang, an architect hailing from Malaysia, made remarkable achievements in green and sustainable architecture. His career as a green architect started way back in the 1970s after presenting a doctoral dissertation about ecological design and planning.
In Ken Yeang’s career, one of his most significant contributions was designing the bioclimatic skyscraper. Rather than competing with the surrounding environment for building space, he used it to create designs. That made his structures more stunning and sustainable.
Today, most architects use Yeang’s architectural designs to construct sustainable skyscrapers based on the surrounding environment. They design buildings while imitating the properties of nature. According to Yeang, failure to imitate nature is going against it.
Ken Yeang has designed several structures, some of which are highly rated. Some of his buildings include:
- National Library, Singapore
- Solaris Tower, Singapore
- Spire Edge Tower, India
- Fusionopolis, Singapore
- Eco Tower, London
The Solaris Tower is one of Yeang’s most popular designs as it embraces the bioclimatic skyscraper building techniques. It has a continuous ecological spiral ramp running from the ground level. It then connects the building’s basement with the surrounding park. With its vertical organic landscape, it establishes a refreshing shade cooling effect.
3. Renzo Piano
Renzo Piano, an Italian architect, is one of the most reputable green architects in the world. Renzo’s building ideas go beyond limiting environmental considerations and stereotypic sustainable building designs. He incorporates green elements in his designs, rendering his structures eco-friendly.
Renzo Piano has designed several buildings that have gained prominence in the world. Some of his building designs include:
- The New York Times Building, New York
- The Shard, London
- The Pompidou Centre, Paris
- The California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
Among all the designs by Renzo Piano, the California Academy of Sciences is his most popular green architectural design. The complex blends in perfectly with the surrounding environment. On top of the green roof, there are three domes with local flora planted for indigenous fauna.
Within the California Academy of Sciences Building, there exists a planetarium, an aquarium, a natural history museum, and a human-made rainforest. With more than 60,000 photovoltaic cells, the building makes good use of natural light in 90 percent of its space.
4. Glenn Murcutt
Glenn Murcutt is one of Australia’s most influential architects who has won many awards, including the prestigious Pritzker. Inspired by the traditional buildings in his country, he started his career by designing simple and modern buildings.
One of Glenn’s inspirations were the wool sheds in New South Wales. These long and narrow structures were built to establish sustainable housing. They got positioned in a way that they took full advantage of the winds for cooling and sun for heating.
Using the woolsheds principle, Glenn Murcutt designed homes with efficient heating and cooling systems. Not to mention, such homes had open floor plans for good air circulation. Some of the buildings that Glenn designed include:
- Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Education Centre, Riversdale
- Australian Islamic Centre, Newport
- Moss Vale Education Centre, Moss Vale
Unlike other architects who own architectural firms in Australia, Glenn Murcutt doesn’t run any large firm. However, his work gets recognized worldwide, especially that he teaches architecture majors.
5. William McDonough
It is no doubt that William McDonough is one of the most influential green architects in America. He has received several awards, including the most prestigious Presidential Award for Sustainable Development. In 2004, he received the National Design Award.
As one of the most renowned environmental architects, William McDonough designed sustainable structures such as the Ford Rouge truck plant. It had an innovative air-delivery system that reduced ductwork. These trucks are still in use today.
The Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College is one of McDonough’s best designs. This education center produces about 30 percent energy in excess and shares it with the neighbouring community.
William McDonough partnered with Brad Pitt to establish the Make It Right Foundation. A foundation committed to creating green and storm-resistant homes that are affordable.
When it comes to sustainable architecture, green architects have made significant contributions to the sector. Besides the five architects mentioned, there are many more architects who have come up with innovative ways of building green structural designs for sustainability. They include Eric Corey Freed, Norman Foster, Buckminster Fuller, Peter Busby, and Thom Mayne.