Buildings have an everlasting impact on the environment. Throughout its lifecycle, a building exists as a part of the larger ecosystem of the environment, through the consumption of resources and production of waste. Building new structures, or developments, have much larger environmental implications, when it comes to material use, wastage, energy use, carbon emissions, etc. The goal of sustainable architecture is to reduce the negative impacts of building activities on the environment by conserving natural resources and ecosystems.
Sustainable architecture is being practiced all over the world, by firms and individual designers, through research and implementation of innovative materials and techniques; here is the list of 20 such firms:
1. Perkins + Will, Chicago
Peter Bubsy, the managing director of the Perkins+Will Office in Chicago, and the co-founder of the Canada Green Building Council was mentored by Ray Cole, and believes that ‘green design is always a part of good design.’ Specializing in high-performance buildings, the firm approaches sustainability through the lens of ‘Living Design’, which promotes biodiversity and forms a part of the sustainable ecosystem.
2. R.Hamzah & Yeang Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia
With multiple branches located all over the world, this firm focuses on ecologically responsible architecture. A winner of the Aga Khan Award for green building, their projects are located in the USA, Europe, and Asia. Founded in 1975, with its headquarters in Malaysia, the firm aims to provide ‘aesthetically unique and “super-green” spaces.)
A firm that believes in thinking big when it comes to sustainable interventions, Foster+Partners is an award-winning architecture firm founded in 1967. Managing greenhouse gas emissions is at the forefront of sustainable design. This firm specializes in designing sustainable environments at varying scales. They are currently involved in the master planning of a sustainable capital city in India as well as Masdar, Abu Dhabi.
4. Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Founded by Renzo Piano, the firm does not limit itself to conventional building materials and strategies of green design. Conversely, they strive to innovate at every step, with no compromise on the initial conceptual design ideas. The firm has executed a number of projects worldwide, a few of which are the greatest examples of green buildings today.
5. BNIM Architects
The firm has designed buildings that adhere to a variety of green building standards, and was also the recipient of the AIA Architecture Firm award in 2011 for ‘advancing the design of sustainable architecture.’ They also played an integral role in the development of the sustainability movement in architecture. The firm strongly believes that the solutions to local and global issues can be found by building positive communities.
6. Karan Grover and Associates, India
The firm was responsible for the design of the first green building in India – CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre at Hyderabad in 2004. This building was also the first project outside the USA which received the LEED Platinum Rating. The firm uses contemporary interpretations of traditional sustainable practices in their projects and has won several global awards for green design.
7. Studio Gang
Creating spaces that form connections among people and with the built environment is the goal of most of the work done by the studio. They are an award-winning practice, with their headquarters in Chicago. Formed of a collective of professionals from various fields, their work confronts various contemporary issues.
8. SERA Architects, Portland, USA
The firm strives to create sustainable design sustainable solutions at various scales. Their work over the years includes urban planning, historic preservation, urban infill, etc. They are an award-winning, multidisciplinary, 100% employee-owned practice based in Portland.
9. Steven Holl Architects, New York
This firm has offices in New York and Beijing, and is recognized to be one of the most innovative contemporary firms. They have won many awards and completed many projects in the field of ecological innovations. The firm is extremely detail-oriented when it comes to green building techniques.
10. Nikken Sekkei, Tokyo
Having completed over 25,000 projects all over the world, the firm still remains to be a pioneer in sustainable design practices. Their achievements include publishing a book that covers ‘the firm’s design features in their ‘Green’ approach to Architecture.’ Through an integrated approach, the firm uses high-performance systems in their projects in order to achieve sustainable results.