Green architecture is not just about tree houses nestled between branches and foliage. A new exhibition at the ifa Gallery in Berlin looks at the architects and ecologists who are taking an innovative approach to sustainable architecture. Located on the banks of the Ayung River in Bali, Indonesia, the ecologically sustainable Green School, pictured, is made entirely of natural materials.
The Green School is also powered by renewable energy sources such as solar and micro-hydro power. But it's not only the amazing setting and architecture that enrich students: The founders also developed a holistic concept and student-centered education program. The Green School was awarded the title of Greenest School on Earth 2012 by the US Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools.
"I'm an ecologist first, and an architect second," says Malaysian star architect Ken Yeang. As a pioneer of eco-architecture, his bioclimatic skyscrapers, such as the Chongqing Tower in China (pictured) have set new standards for green architecture. Yeang takes a holistic approach to environmental sustainability, from mechanisms to improve rainwater collection and recycling to vertical greenery.
Yeang's design for the Zorlu Ecocity in Istanbul, Turkey, encompasses hotels, apartment blocks, a senior living facility and retail complexes. The Zorlu Ecocity is to be flooded with green spaces covering walls, rooftops and sidewalks. Touted as "a city within a city," the aim of the project is to create a new urban center in order to relieve the pressure on jam-packed Istanbul.
Malaysia is one of the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases. In recent years, highly advanced projects have been developed there which take an innovative approach towards sustainable and landscape architecture. Yeang's design for the DiGi Technical Office in Shah Alam, Malaysia, includes a vegetated "ecowall" that acts as insulation, a habitat for wildlife and a biological air filter.
The exhibition at the ifa Gallery concentrates on green architecture in Southeast Asia, in particular Malaysia and Indonesia. Renowned Malaysian landscape architect Ng Seksan plans gardens, parks and public spaces that subtly merge with untouched, natural areas. He designed the Sekeping Tenggiri guesthouse in Kuala Lumpur (pictured). It's packed full of plants, from creepers to bamboo grass.
"I don't believe in global architecture or global solutions to a problem," Seksan says. His site-specific designs take inspiration from the local geography, climate, culture and craftsmanship. Seksan's Sekeping Serendah Warehouse is another holiday retreat located north of Kuala Lumpur in the midst of the dense tropical rainforest. The pared-down guesthouse was built using local materials.
Known as the green lung of the city, the park landscape at The Maple luxury condo in Sentul West, Kuala Lumpur, was also designed by Seksan. Avoiding formality and artificiality, the luscious landscape encompasses a woodland area and a kitchen garden. The exhibition "Green Buildings, Tropical Gardens" runs at the ifa Gallery in Berlin through March 10, 2013.
"Green Houses, Tropical Gardens" is a new exhibition at the ifa Gallery in Berlin. It looks at environmetally friendly architecture in south-east Asia.