As per my understanding goes, Sustainable Architecture means environmentally conscious design techniques in the field of Architecture. Sustainable Architecture is framed by the larger discussion of sustainability and also by global political and economic issues.
In the broad context it seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by enhancing efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy and development space. The idea of sustainability implies that our present actions and decisions do not inhibit the opportunities of future generation. The term can be used to define energy and environmentally conscious design approach of the built environment.
Haus der Forschung in Vienna
A sunny morning at the new Haus der Forschung in Vienna brings more than another day’s work. Through a system of mirrors, prisms, and fibre cables, sunlight itself is funnelled into the foyer. Snaking through the Forschung ceiling is the latest experiment in heliostatic lighting—bringing the sun inside the building.
Heliostats are mirror arrays that track the sun, following pre-programmed sequencing directions from software or responding to exterior-mounted sensors. Sunlight can be reflected from a large, high-quality, roof-mounted circular tracking mirror to a secondary mirror or mirrors, and then directed inside a building, letting sunshine appear as if it were provided by electrical sources.
The mirrors have been around for decades. However, only recently, with increased interest in green energy and CNC cutting processes, which have reduced the costs of machining specialty optics, have architects begun to seriously consider using the mirrors for light and energy sources.
The 12-story Mosler Lofts designed by Mithun, were the first LEED Silver certified condos in Seattle. An example of how to create value through innovative, sustainable design beyond an initial development vision, this development was 90% sold within the first 6 months on the market due to its highly sustainable features and contemporary design.
European Investment Bank
The striking tubular glass roof spans the entire 170-metre long and 50-metre wide structure. In combination with an extremely lightweight glass and steel superstructure, it offers a maximum of daylight and transparency. In addition, the building’s zigzag plan encourages a non-hierarchical office layout that promotes interaction and communication. This unrivalled office environment is carried by an environmental programme reflecting a progressive approach towards sustainability in architecture.
Key to the new headquarters’ ecological concept is the glass roof which curves around the floor plates to create the atriums in the V-shaped “gaps”. The landscaped winter gardens towards the valley side are unheated and act as climate buffers. In contrast, the atriums on the boulevard side serve as circulation spaces; hence temperatures have to be kept at a comfortable level. Both winter gardens and “warm” atriums are naturally ventilated through open able flaps in the shell to draw fresh air into the building and to reduce heat gain especially in the summer months.
The entire office space benefits from natural light and outside views. Mechanical systems such as lighting, sun shading, heating, cooling and ventilation can be controlled individually. Excessively wasteful behaviour is still being avoided as individual settings are reset to the most efficient levels several times a day by the central control unit. Staff members can open their windows to the atriums and winter gardens or to the outside.