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Top 10 Green Architecture Projects 2008: Inhabitat

Inhabitat featured the top 10 most impressive green architecture projects in 2008. I really only wanted to highlight a couple, but I really couldn’t help myself. These projects are absolutely jaw-dropping feats of ingenuity and innovation. 

Greenpix Zero Energy Wall

The 2008 Olympic Games in China featured several architectural marvels. The Greenpix Zero Energy Wall was definitely one of the biggest hits. It is the world’s largest color LED display. The building operates as a self-sufficient organic system by harvesting solar energy during the day and using it to illuminate the screen after dark.

Cathedral of Christ the Light


 This modern structure goes against the classical designs of traditional cathedrals. SOM wanted a theme of light to create a contemporary design the capture the soul of the Oakland community.

California Academy of Sciences

The Academy features an aquarium, a natural history museum, a living rain forest, a world class research facility all under a 2.5 acre green roof. The structure will house 38,000 live animals and is on track to receive LEED platinum status.

Zigguarat: Dubai Carbon Neutral Pyramid

The pyramids have inspired the latest proposed, Dubai super structure. The building will be a self sustaining metropolis that can house up to 1,000,000 people. There will be a public transportation system that will mobilize people vertically and horizontally. By running off of wind, stream, and other natural resources, the structure can operate completely off the grid. The giant, eco-pyramid is already being patented and could be the future for an overpopulated world.

The School of Art, Media, and Design in Singapore


The art school blurs the line between landscape and building. The series of roofs create great green space and helps insulate the building. It also harvests rainwater for landscape irrigation. The high performance glass façade reduces solar gain and heat load, while providing great views and loads of natural light for creative spaces.

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  1. Wow, these photos are simply amazing. I love the architecture and elegant designs displayed. I wish I can hang some of these up on my living room wall. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You are so right. They would make for excellent wall decor.

  3. That is DEFINITELY the coolest art school I’ve ever seen

  4. If I went to a school like that, I would have tried harder.

  5. Sorry I thought this page was on “green” builings ?The SOM Cathedral has nothing to do with green, and for the others : having a tiny golf practice on the roof doesn’t make a building earth-friendly. There are real issues these lovely buildings just don’t deal with.Your were mistaken : these are fun, not green.

  6. No need to be so critical. It’s a blog…Not a checklist for LEED certification. Thanks for the interesting blog HF Guy! :)

  7. The definition of green has been changing rapidly over the last few decades and, although they may not necessarily appear green, the designs of buildings like these actually are Earth-friendly. The SOM Cathedral, for example, is tall and open, constructed with clear glass and minimal structural insides, allowing natural sunlight into the building. This makes it possible for the facility to require less artificial lighting as well as less energy consumption towards the heating of a building already warmed by the sun. As for the greenery, it actually helps the buildings be immensely earth friendly! Those that are constructed beneath the earth are usually powered by geothermal heating systems which do not require massive amounts of energy to heat or cool, depending on the season. The grass on the art school is actually not what makes that particular building green! It was designed in such a way as to allow natural light into the structure (much like the SOM Cathedral) and then insulating it with the overarching earth. Green means many different things in architecture. Certainly the daily detriments to our planet are not relieved by each building, but there has been an active rush to try! Kudos for the images — wallpaper worthy, indeed! :)

  8. The Singapore photo blew me away, among others, thank you!Btw, having a putting green on a roof ties into making sod, et al de riguer on tops of bldgs because a lot of energy is saved inside the bldg when that happens.

  9. Architects should not be allowed use the word green until a post occupancy analysis has proved the building to be low energy. The vast majority of so called green buildings in the UK (e.g. Lord Mayor’s office in London)used greenwash to sell it but proved to be terrible use of energy afterwards and they dont publish results unless they are forced to do so… and if I hear one more architect talk about all their glass leaving in daylight to cut down on on lighting :( heating is 10 times more energy consuming than lighting and a wall is 10 times better insulator than the best window. Just get used to it. Glass is bad! Skyscrapers will be the symbol of a wasteful society in the not too distant future. Oh and green roofs leak, a lot. Lets do a little life-cycle analysis people!

  10. Super architecture.. i just loved it

  11. Since there is no such thing as overpopulation, the pyramids and other eco-cities will be utterly useless. The carrying capacity of the Earth is much higher than we realize. We just use all the wrong resources. The more time goes on the more cities will loose their appeal. People will begin to move back out to the farms where they can make something for themselves and their family.

  12. Jon Jon

    Some amazing photos, and amazing properties.

  13. I’m not qualified to argue their green credentials, but I can’t deny how impressive some of these buildings look.

  14. Actually, if you do some research, I think you will find that green roofs when constructed correctly leak less than other membrane roofs. The inverted roof design and well protected membrane are positive additions to a roof structure not negatives.

  15. I wish my school looked like that! That is so awesome. I’m glad there’s still some creativity in the world.

  16. Oh and by the way Anonymous person above, cities have kind of been a big thing since the first modern humans in Iraq started building them 5000-4000 BCE. I don’t think they’re going anywhere, mate.

  17. Simply stunning and very exciting. I want one…..

  18. Whats with the frikken Blade Runner building in Dubai? Will house 1 million people? Who they taking advice from? A consultancy headed by the reanimated corpses of Corbusier and Asimov? Idiots!

  19. Hey! Great sites! I lived in Singapore a semested on exchanged and I was in the building every week! It’s the coolest piece of architechture I have seen yet and it’s really spectacular and beautiful… had many parties on the top of that hill, and great memories!

  20. Stringbean,I’m definitely jealous. I’d love to take my little nephew and let him roll around on that hill.

  21. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.Carbon neutral pyramid? Everything else in Dubai is the complete opposite and it doesn’t make a difference we aren’t responsible for that much carbon output anyway.You wanna curb your goddamn emissions? FIX THE POWERGRID. 5% increase in efficiency over a year would be the equivalent of taking 53 million, yes MILLION cars off the road.No goddamn stupid looking Egyptian ripoff gonna offset that.You. Are. All. Idiots.

  22. There is one glaring omission. COST. Anything can be built if you spend enough money. These buildings, although attractive and having the WOW factor, are probably massively expensive testaments to an Architect’s ego, are some of the most inefficient uses of space possible, and probably are not as energy efficient as they are presented. I would like to see the webpage authors place the same pictures up in 15 years and talk about what the maintenance costs are and what specific problems they have encountered. The proud owners need to provide the expected energy savings assumptions versus the increased cost of construction and the expected payback period. If it is outside of 15 to 20 years, Al Gore and Ted Danson say we are all doomed anyway. By the way, you also have to get someone to build these things. If I were a contractor, I would have plenty of conditions and contingencies (on top of big fees) otherwise you would probably lose your butt. Man-made global warming is a political myth…

  23. Realist…someone finally talking sense. I praise you for stating the truth with such dignity.

  24. There is another major issuue in the ‘green’ debate going on here which doesn’t reflect well on these (no doubt stunning) buildings. Two critical measures of a building’s eco-credentials are embodied energy and longevity. If a building is constructed using materials which require enormous amounts of energy to manufacture, their low ongoing energy use is negligable in comparison to the initial impact of construction. These buildings (and indeed much of modern architechture) are based on steel, concrete and glass, all of which use vast amounts of energy to produce.Were the building to last many hundred years, that investment could be worthwhile, but few of these buildings are designed to last this long. We need to use low-embodied-energy materials if we are building for the short term – and ensure that spectacular-looking centres such as the ones above are built for the long-haul.We have the technology, we have the creativity. We need the will and the courage.

  25. I worry that the SOM Cathedral in Oakland will require massive cooling when the sun is out. What about insulation? Will it be able to store solar power for cloudy days?

  26. Wow that proposed pyramid in Dubai is like some kind of Neo-Masonic, Aldous Huxley dream come true. Incredible. It's really cool in form but I would hope an idea like that wouldn't evolve into the bubble cities of high lander or the residential complexes of Brave New World.Isaac

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