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green city architecture city scape illustration

Architectural style trends come and go with the times, and the field is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, which influences future generations. The buildings we erect over our lifetime reflect on our times and leave their own stamp on history. The Romanesque, Gothic, Romantic, and Bauhaus eras are still visible through the streets of cities that were developing during those times. They certainly influenced today’s architects and played a role in developing today’s trends.

Thanks to a growing concern about the well-being of the environment and reducing carbon emissions and utilizing renewable resources wherever possible. Today’s architectural trends fall in line with the need for sustainable practices in an industry that leads the conversation on sustainable energy models, cleaner air quality in cities, and a greater connection to our natural world in general.

This all goes into laying the foundation for a more environmentally friendly, sustainable way of living for future generations. Here are three top green architecture trends that are making mainstream impact.

Living buildings

Many people in the business are calling this the “green” era of architectural style. This reference is both literal and figurative. In the literal sense, many of today’s newest structures directly incorporate an element of nature through vegetated roofs and walls.

Living buildings are becoming mainstream, as more architects strive to build structures that are completely self-sustaining by generating 100 percent of the energy it uses through renewable and nontoxic resources, gathering and treating all its water on-site and operates efficiently without any help from outside sources.

Green roofs

For generations cityscapes included row after row of skyscrapers: apartment buildings, commercial structures, hospitals, and office buildings, all topped with grey roofs that served no purpose, while inefficient design allowed for a lot of lost heat in those buildings that added to heat island effects in cities as that escaped heat rose into the atmosphere. The newest trend to break the inefficiency of roofs and buildings in urban areas is the idea of green rooftops.

green roof old city hall Toronto

These alternative rooftops offer a solution to the age-old issue that comes along with a concrete paradise: the lack of vegetation. By taking this neglected space and making it functional, owners of these green roofs enjoy reduced energy costs through natural insulation, and reduce carbon emissions while producing more oxygen. But green roofs aren’t the only way living architecture is making its mark. Other ways architects are using living architecture in their designs are:

  • Green walls and bridges bring the health benefits of plants and vegetation upward, maximizing the growing space and producing and helping to improve the balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere.
  • Natural swimming pools eliminate the need to use harmful chemicals to purify the water, through biological filters and plants that are rooted hydroponically throughout the system.
  • Indoor gardens that are built into the design of the structure enhance the indoor environment of by cleaning the air.

green architecture interior garden outdoor living

Energy upgrades

Thanks to the emergence of consumer-friendly, affordable renewable energy solutions, more builders are incorporating energy upgrades into their building designs. The trend is gravitating more toward solar power than ever before, so architects are designing structures that can feature solar panels in ways they never have before, such as between window panes, and across the entire roof instead of big bulky panels like they used to.

Other energy upgrades that many modern structures have are rain cisterns, renewable and repurposed insulation materials, and low emissivity windows, and vacuum insulation panels.

Modern architectural style and sustainability

Just as every architectural era before it, the green era is bringing distinctively modern architectural styles with it. With any luck, these trends will stick around and serve as a stepping stone toward an increasingly sustainable future, and a healthy environment for generations to come.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.