The march of development cannot be stopped, but along with development come the dangers of global warming, higher population densities and increased stress on local and natural resources. This dilemma has forced policy makers and builders to look into sustainable models of development and urbanization. One of the challenge areas has been urban housing and corporate working areas. Many of the solutions proposed seemed nonviable when they were initially suggested, but with time, designers, architects, scientists and builders have found a way to make them feasible.
The concept of environment-friendly office buildings is no longer in the realms of science fiction and speculation. With green building philosophies meeting practical construction and design solutions, the corporate office buildings of today are looking more and more futuristic. And along with appearing hi-tech and beautiful, they are also contributing to making the planet cleaner, greener and cooler. Here are five office buildings and design concepts that are making optimum use of the principles of green buildings while looking pretty too.
1. The Net Lima
The first of three office towers at the Net Metropolis at the Fort Bonifacio Central Business District on the outskirts of Manila, the Net Lima is the first certified green mega-structure in Philippines. This building complex has an unusual design that makes the towers appear tilted upwards, and the mirror-like glass surfaces create an unusual illusion by reflecting each other. Designed by Chad Oppenheim, the 35-year-old award-winning architect from Miami, Net Lima addresses the two key areas of lighting and air cooling through its unique design. Built to maximize the utilization of natural light, the building uses a minimum of interior columns and has double glazed glass exteriors. The curtain wall glass and its reflective coating also keeps the heat out, along with the unique skyward tilted design with extruding panels, shading the building from direct solar heat.
2. Sustainable office complex to aim for LEED Gold Certification
One of the largest commercial projects to be taken up in downtown Ottawa in the last few decades, the Export Development Canadaâs (EDCâs) new office at the corner of OâConnor and Slater Streets, is a 18-storied complex covering nearly 500,000 square feet that will consolidate its entire operations. This building comes with a lower podium that blends with the street-scape and uses glass and metal curtain-walling to make the most of available natural light. With all aspects of sustainable architecture, such as water conservation and energy saving considerations incorporated into it, the building is targeting a LEED Gold Certification for sustainable design and environmental quality.
3. Green Office 2015
A concept designed by the Amsterdam based Rau Architects, this is an office building idea that runs entirely on renewable energy sources. Envisaging a multi-purpose space within an existing urban infrastructure, this design incorporates using photovoltaic cells to capture solar energy and low-noise wind turbines to ensure that the office building has a low carbon footprint, along with modern waste management and water recycling methods.
4. Green architecture office building
This is a unique design of a spherical office building inside another spherical building for residential housing. Sounds like a death star design straight out of a dream? Hold your hat, this is the Edifici Sphere from the Spanish house of EQUIP Xavier Claramunt, a concept that will challenge conventional architectural thinking. There are several innovative ideas in this concept beyond the standard light, heat, water paradigm. It uses the space between the two spheres as public space that is shielded from environmental and atmospheric impact. The spherical design contains large ruptures looking like dents on a metallic ball that allow available natural light to reach even the most central areas, thereby reducing the sense of being in an enclosed space. The spatial units are designed in a way that they can be reprogrammed to exchange public spaces for residential space and vice versa as per changing needs.
5. Amazing Green House Office Building
Here is another Dutch design. Netherlands has always been at the forefront of the global green building initiative, and this green office building in the heart of the provincial capital of Groningen, is yet another testimony to its premier position in that aspect. Designed and built by NL Architects, the SoZaWe (the cityâs welfare department and works agency), the building uses a stepped terrace design and glass clad walls to ensure that every floor gets access to natural light both from the sides as well as from above. In addition the stepped design gives each floor its own terrace space for public use as well as for greenery. With abundant use of green spaces at every possible level, this design also offsets its own carbon footprint.