Sustainability is defined as the avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance. From the 1970s until now China has unfortunately been one of the biggest polluters and producers of atmospheric pollutants. The construction industries being one of the biggest land pollutants contributing to the same. However, since the 1970s China has realized this issue and has reinforced various laws regarding green, eco-friendly, and sustainable building practices to improve upon their condition. Architects and builders, there are experimenting and infusing eco-friendly ancient building wisdom with potential modern tech resulting in sustainability as progeny. After a reconnaissance of the state, I was able to formulate this list of the 10 most sustainable buildings in china as follows:

1. Shanghai Towers, Shanghai, China

Awarded as the most beautiful building in the world in 2015, the Shanghai towers incorporate 43 green and energy-saving technologies. It also reduces energy consumption by 21 percent and water usage by 40 percent. Shanghai towers’ double glass façade not only reduces heating/cooling costs but also increases indirect natural light in the structure. One-third of the site area has been given to landscaping to reduce carbon footprint too.

2. Bamboo Town, Baoxi, Zhejiang province 

Celebrating one of the primitive construction materials of China, the International Architectural Bamboo Biennale was held in Baoji, the agricultural Mountains with rice fields. The biennale aimed at exploring the vast construction possibilities of this ancient building material. As a result, the bamboo structures here are breathtakingly beautiful. From youth hostels to Ceramic museum all structures here are eco-friendly and sustainable.

3. Pearl River Tower, Guangzhou, China

Pearl River is a super tall skyscraper beautifully designed to include energy conservation in the building. The structure incorporates wind turbines, solar collectors, underfloor air distribution systems, and radiant cooling and heating systems. Its vast use of various energy conservation methods has made this building one of the most eco-friendly buildings in the world.

4. Mini Sky City, Hunan

Built using prefabricated construction technology in just 19 days this is one of Chinas’ crowning glory structures. The structure has 57 storeys and is 204 meters tall. Lightweight construction reduces the carbon footprint of the structure. It also uses recyclable high strength steel with rolled sections.

5. 1911 Revolution Museum / CADI

Located in Wuhan, the 1911 revolution depicts 5 historical facts- China in the Qing dynasty, the origin of the revolution, the Uprising, the establishment of the Republic, and China since 1911. The form, spatial design, and all features of the building from planning to the voluminous mass reflect tangible and intangible the revolution of 1911 in China. The structure has been designed to have a low carbon footprint and very fewer maintenance costs. The materials used are environment friendly and renewable. Abandoned rock powder, Ballast, and GRC sheets are a few to name.

6. Giant Interactive Group Corporate Headquarters, Shanghai

The company Headquarters are a large folded plate landscape with various forms and functions folded in and out. It represents a compact village and also has an artificial man-made water body. All features right from start have been planned in a way to use fewer resources and make the structure efficient. Large green landscapes, use of natural light and ventilation, passive temperature maintaining techniques all can be seen very efficiently in the design.

7. Huaxin Business Center, Xuhui 

Huaxin Business Center marks a new beginning of sustainable structures in China as spaces here enlighten us to think about the correlation of humans, nature, and society. The 6 trees which were present on the site have been preserved and the built structure traverses around these 6 trees creating friendly spaces wherein turn time and space interact. Sustainability is being defined with a new definition here as all resources on the site have been preserved and the structure is an addition to the site rather than from the site. 


8. Vanke Centre, Shenzhen, China

The Vanke Center is a horizontal skyscraper built on a tropical landscape with floating cube structures. Its greenery and water bodies create a microclimate of freed landscapes. It has received a LEED platinum sustainable rating too. The structure contains offices, cafes, residences, hostels, and a public park.

9. Micro Emission Sun-Moon Mansion, Dezhou, China

One of the largest solar structures in the world, the Sun moon mansion’s roof facility covers 5000 m2 of area. The building saves 2.5 Tonnes of coal and 6.6 million kWh of electricity. Its energy-saving efficiencies are 88 percent.

10. Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center

MAD architect’s recent project Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center is where science and technology meet energy efficiency and sustainability. Designed on a mountain and forest theme this new structure restores the spiritual relationship between humanity and nature.

Anaushka Goyal is a undergraduate student studying architecture in Mumbai. She likes research and experimentation with sustainable architectural practices that could benefit the environment. She is a critical thinker andis committed to address the problems in our society through her work. She is currently exploring her aptitude for architectural journalism.