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If someone asked us, we wouldn't say no to working in an office made from completely clean materials and that is 100% solar-powered. We might take a while to get over the composting toilets, but hey, there had to be one downside.

Seattle's new Bullitt Center is said to be the greenest and most energy-efficient commercial building in the world.

Built by the Builltt Foundation, a Seattle-based sustainability advocacy group, "the goal of the Bullitt Center is to change the way buildings are designed, built and operated to improve long-term environmental performance and promote broader implementation of energy efficiency, renewable energy and other green building technologies in the Northwest."

It doesn't use some new fancy technology that almost no-one can get their hands on; it is built using existing techniques and technologies which ensures that 'everything' includes 100% onsite energy use from solar panels, water provided by harvested rainwater, natural lighting, indoor composting toilets, a system of geothermal wells for heating, and a wood-framed structure (made out of FSC-certified wood).

This is the future of green design.

[via Co.Exist]

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Ever thought about what you can use old shipping containers for? Here's one idea: build a bridge.

The ECOntainer Bridge by Yoav Messer Architects will see a 160 meter long bridge made from old shipping containers create a centre for nature and urban life.

Two sides of the Ariel Sharon Park in Israel will be connected, slotting in like giant Lego bricks. Due to their modular nature, over 70% of the construction work can be done offsite to make the project minimally invasive.

The bridge will be lit by clean electricity using photovoltaic solar cells.

What do you think of this idea?

[Via PSFK]

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What do you do when you don't have many square feet available to build on in the dense commercial district of Tokyo, yet you want to have green space? You build upwards of course.

Japanese architect Ryue Nishizawa is behind this excellent example of urban architecture, a five-storey townhouse fronted by a stack of gardens that function as a home and workplace for two writers.

What makes this building even more impressive is that it is built using only glass walls, to avoid narrowing the interior spaces further. The gardens are blended with rooms on each of the four floors of the building, and plants ensure that privacy is maintained.

"The entirety is a wall-less transparent building designed to provide an environment with maximum sunlight despite the dark site conditions," Ryue Nishizawa told Dezeen. "Every room, whether it is the living room, private room or the bathroom, has a garden of its own so that the residents may go outside to feel the breeze, read a book or cool off in the evening and enjoy an open environment in their daily life."

Via Dezeen / Photos by Iwan Baan.

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When I can afford to build my own house (in the year 2079) I would very much like to build it with this: biological concrete. How great wouldn't it be to make the outdoor surfaces of your new-built house a eco-mansion that is beautifully green?

Researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona are currently developing this new type of concrete that can capture rainfall and use it to create living walls of moss and fungi. If all goes well, this will be one huge step closer to making buildings more eco-friendly, so not only would living organisms be able to thrive on it, but the concrete layer would also absorb carbon dioxide and do a double act as insulating material and thermal regulator.

[via PSFK]

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Scandinavians are considered very forward-thinking in environmental design and they love their outdoor areas, so it comes it comes as no surprise that Copenhagen - a city greatly associated with climate change talks - is leading the way in finding new, environmentally friendly ways to become greener and improve its citizens' recreational areas and quality of life.

Architects Tredje Natur and PK3 have put together a proposal that would see Copenhagen make use of its harbour by developing a network of artificial islands.

Divided into five zones, the development, dubbed Blue Plan, would see the artificial islands become a recreation area for local residents and tourists alike - with a harbour bath with heated pools and sauna caves - as well as provide a space for an educational facility and create habitat for birds and other small islands. One of the islands would also be dedicated to water sports, and would provide facilities for scuba diving, swimming and kayaking.

If only London had enough space in the Thames for something similar...

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[via Dezeen]

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Have you ever found yourself at a remote location and just wished there was a sustainable hotel there so that you could stay for a few nights to admire the view a bit longer? Well this portable micro hotel could be the answer.

Designed by Barcelona-based In-Tenta Creative Design Group, DROP (currently only a concept design) is a one-room hotel that can be placed at any location with minimal disruption to its surrounding environment. It's far more comfortable than a tent and a lot more stylish than your average caravan, not to mention it's made with the environment in mind.

Built of modular wood and steel elements, DROP features a skylight running the entire length of the structure - optimal use of daylight - between two bubble windows at either end that can be opened to let nature in. Electricity comes from solar panels on the roof, naturally, and water for the bathroom is gathered via a rain catching system,

This futuristic looking space pod could be the next big thing in environmentally conscious tourism. But we wouldn't have placed it just so close to the edge of that cliff...

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[via PSFK.com]

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Now that the Olympic fever has died down a little and the dust has settled across the Olympic Park, it's great to know that the magnificent complex which saw tears, smiles and greatness this summer will not be abandoned completely.

James Corner, the designer behind the famous New York Highline Park, will be revamping the south end of the park in what is said to be a series of 'active spaces'. Set for completion by spring of 2014, the redesigned park will include areas for public performances, picnics and even rock-climbing within what will be London's newest urban green space.

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[via inhabitat / designboom.com]

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We keep a watchful eye on the big (bad) companies of the world to see what they are up to when it comes to innovation and sustainability. And luckily these days, many of them are actually working on rather pioneering projects and products.

The latest global company to showcase how their products are high up on the sustainability chart is Nike. And because I have a soft spot for forward-thinking and green architecture I quite like this project.

Sportswear giant Nike has collaborated with design firm Miniwiz to build The Feather Pavilion, a structure made from high-tech transparent thread 'bricks' created by recycled PET bottles. The structure intends to reflect how the new Flyknit footwear collection is lightweight, viable and cutting-edge.

The recycled pavilion will be on display until 6 October as part of the Beijing Design Week 2012.

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[via PSFK]

If you're in the market for a sustainable home with a difference, this floating home will be just up your street.

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Called Inachus, it takes its name from the Greek River God, and is part of Danish design think-tank Sanitov Floating Homes' on-going Future-Cities project, which looks to actively integrate the River Thames into the urban fabric of London, through sustainable living. The aim is to create a floating community of individually customised homes based on the original design of Inachus.

It is one of only 40 homes in the UK to carry Energy Level 5 status and will set to become one of the most sustainable homes in London. Among its many features, such as an internal green wall, the home will also use sunlight and heat created by those living to warm the house throughout the year; and any rainwater will be harvested for cleaning and to water the before mentioned green wall.

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Offering a revolution in urban living, Inachus will be fully equipped with home appliances, consumer electronic products and mobile devices by Samsung UK.

Alexander Høst, Sanitov Studio, commented: "We are excited to be launching Inachus in partnership with Samsung and its cutting-edge technology and hope Londoners will embrace our holistic design approach which draws on this technology together with biology, cultural studies and philosophies to bring together this brand new concept."

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The London 2012 Olympics are well on their way, Team GB has finally got their first gold medals, people seem to be enjoying themselves and the weather hasn't been too bad - hh and London Mayor Boris Johnson got stuck on a zip wire (see the video here).

We've already looked at the environmental credentials of the 2012 Olympics and its surroundings, but didn't really mention the twisting observation tower by Anish Kapoor. Standing at 114.5 metres high, the red steel tower is made from 60% recycled steel and offers views of the Olympic Park. The Orbit took 18 months to complete and is made up by 560 metres of tubular steel, weighing in at almost 2,000 tonnes.

What do you think of it; is it a work of art or just twisted metal?

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[via Dezeen]

blackfriars-solar-01-379px.jpgIf you've been around the River Thames recently you'll have noticed the construction work taking place on the new Blackfriars Station, which is being built on a bridge spanning the river. A new bridge isn't very newsworthy, but the fact that it is on its way to becoming the world's largest solar bridge is!

London-based company Solarcentury has now begun installing over 4,400 solar photovaltic (PV) panels that are to generate an estimated 900,000kWh of electricity every year. This will produce 50% of the station's energy and reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 511 tonnes per year!

But that's not all. The new station, build on the foundations of a 1886 Victorian bridge will also have other energy saving measures, such as rain harvesting systems and sun pipes to let more natural light in.

We're loving that London's new builds like Blackfriars are more environmentally-friendly and sustainable that its predecessors, as it is imperative for a bright future for the capital.

Now what if The Shard, London's latest skyline addition, was built with solar panels...

the-developing-city.jpgBoris may have tried to make the capital greener with his bikes, but according to top architects London needs to be greener - and taller - in the future.

A new public exhibition opening this week - The Developing City - will display visions of the City of London in 2050. It will look at how the physical environment of the City - its buildings, public spaces and culture have helped it to thrive as a major business centre, and how it will be in the future.

According to architects, whose visions are on display, The Square Mile will become greener with more parks and riverside walkways, while buildings will increase in height to accommodate continued growth.

The Developing City takes place at The Walbrook Building, London EC4 between 21 June and 9 September 2012.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of breakfast talks, curator's tours, walks, building visits and other special events.

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