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15 Greenest Buildings in the World - 10 January 2008

If the world wants to do something about global warming then we need to change more than just how we live, we need to change what we live in. There is endemic negligence and a multiplicity of inadequacies with regards sustainable living in our current mainstream architectural design practices. This lack of an environmentally-conscious approach to construction is evident in the huge contribution to the warming of our planet made by buildings.

It therefore stands to reason that if we really are serious about protecting the environment (and ultimately ourselves) then we must build green in the future, and ideally retrofit current structures with greener functionality. Here is a mixture of 15 current, in-construction and planned green architectural treasures from around the world. They all have one thing in common: sustainability.

Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, New York

Bank of America Tower

Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park: When it comes to green architecture they don’t get much greener than the Bank of America Tower in New York. This $1 billion, 54 storey, 1,200 foot tall tower will house 2.1 million square foot of office space. Cook + Fox designed the tower to be extremely efficient so that waste and rainwater is reused, heat from the sun is maximised and office space is flushed with natural daylight. Most of the raw materials used in the construction of the tower are from renewable and recycled sources within 500 miles of New York in line with the ideology of sustainable building practice. It should come as no surprise therefore that this tower has been accredited with US LEED Platinum status, the only skyscraper with the reward at the time of writing.

India Tower, Mumbai

India Tower

India Tower: When first announced many commentators reacted with aghast to the renders of India Tower claiming it looked more like a stack of misaligned boxes than an intelligently designed building. I know there are similar towers around the world but I still quite like the India Tower, if only because it symbolises an environmental awareness in the world’s second most populous country. India Tower will be 74 storeys tall with 882,000 square foot of multi-use space when completed in 2010. Each rotated block in the tower will have a completely different use, ie. residential, office, retail, recreation etc. The design incorporates the use of solar shading, natural ventilation, daylighting, rainwater harvesting, and green interior finishes and materials to make this one of the greenest buildings in India. The India Tower has already achieved the US LEED Gold rating.

Residence Antilia, Mumbai

Residences Antilia

Residence Antilia: Believe it or not but this 70 storey, 803 foot tall tower is going to be the home for a single family, that of Indian property mogul Mukesh Ambani. The tower has been designed by Perkins + Will using traditional Vastu design, which means this will be the tallest living wall when completed and act as a large carbon sink in the heart of Mumbai. Not all of the floors will be occupied, some are going to be used exclusively as gardens in the sky. According to Vastu philosophy the central column of the building will angle upwards to symbolise enlightenment. The design is certainly innovative and should add at least some weight behind the whole idea of rooftop gardens and inner city farms that seems to be gaining some well-deserved traction.

View the remainder of these 15 Greenest Buildings at