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.

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Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, Image Credit: Martin Tessler ©Archdaily
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River Beech Tower, Chicago Image Credit: Perkins and Will, com
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Ransom Everglades School, Miami, Florida Image Credit: Perkins and Will, ©

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.)

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National Library Board Building, Singapore, is an effort towards creating sustainable architecture in the tropic zones. ©
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Menara Mesiniaga Image Credit: T.R.Hamzah & Yeang Sdn. Bhd, ©
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Spire Edge, Manesar, India Image Credit: T.R.Hamzah & Yeang Sdn. Bhd, , ©

3. Foster+Partners

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.

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Masdar City, Abu Dhabi ©
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Master Plan for Amaravati, India Image Credit: Foster+partners ©
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MOL Campus, Budapest Image Credit: Foster + PartnersImage ©

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.

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California Academy of the Sciences, San Francisco, Image Credit: Tim Griffith ©
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Paris Courthouse Image Credit: Sergio Grazia ©
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Pathé Foundation, Paris Image Credit: Michel Denance ©

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.

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Price Gilbert and Crosland Tower Library Renewal Image Credit: BNIM ©
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Bloch Executive Hall, Image Credit BNIM ©
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Lewis Centre for the Arts Image Credit: BNIM ©

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.

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CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre at HyderabadImage Credit: KGA ©
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Shroff Residence, Image Credit: KGA, ©
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Institute for Plasma Research Image Credit: KGA ©

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.

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National Aquarium Image Credit: Studio Gang ©
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Aqua Tower Image Credit: Hedrich Blessing ©
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Brick Weave House Image Credit: Hedrich Blessing,  ©

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.

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Oregon Sustainability Centre Image Credit: SERA ©
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Edith Green – Wendell Wyatt Federal Building ©
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LinkedIn Middlefield Campus Image Credit: SERA ©

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.

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Linked Hybrid Image Credit: Iwan Baan ©
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Nancy and Rich Kinder Building  Image Credit: Richard Barnes ©
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Frederic Malle Image Credit: Susan Wides ©

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.

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Amakusa Complex KOKORASU © Credit: Takumi Ota
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On the Water House Image Credit: Gankosha, Harunori Noda ©
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Shanghai Greenland Centre ©
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Anashwara Mandalay is an Architect, currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Interior Design. She believes that the true success of design lies in creative solutions to everyday problems, which drives her interest in minimalism and sustainable design practices. While her work encompasses graphics, product, interior, and architectural design, she is drawn to academia and journalism. She finds inspiration in the most unexpected places - her inclination towards travel, film, visual art and photography play a leading role in her work as a multi-faceted designer.