In the evolving conversation about the built environment, the terms ‘biodiversity,’ ‘net zero,’ and ‘nature-positivity’ are becoming increasingly essential. While many urban development plans enthusiastically incorporate downtown sky gardens and other green spaces, they often overlook the need to truly honor the environment. So, let’s shift our focus away from these cityscapes and instead shine a light on architectural marvels that choose to spotlight Mother Nature’s beauty.
Ring of Bjólfur
By ESJA Architecture, exa nordic, Okarheima, ANNA Landscape architect, Arkibygg arkitekar, Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Jury Winner, 2023 A+ Awards, Unbuilt Landscape
Iceland, a place of awe-inspiring natural wonders, offers a unique perspective for architectural design. The Ring of Bjólfur in Seydisfjordur is a testament to this. This concrete platform offers an unparalleled viewpoint to watch the natural drama of Iceland’s eastern wilderness unfold. Its minimalist design contrasts with the untamed terrain, almost disappearing into it, yet leaving a distinct mark.
Khor Kalba Turtle & Wildlife Sanctuary
By Hopkins Architects, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
The sanctuary, comprising seven interconnected pods inspired by urchin exoskeletons, provides visitors with an immersive nature experience. It offers panoramic views of precious mangrove forests and distant mountains, and walking trails to explore the area’s rich biodiversity. Despite using concrete, a material not usually aligned with eco-friendly intentions, the design ensures minimal disruption to ecosystems.
Micro Oasis Tambo Pintados
By CONOR, Pintados, Chile
This design breathes new life into ancient traditions. Based on historical Tambo sites in the Chilean desert, the Micro Oasis offers travelers rest and restoration. The design underscores the preciousness of life in the desert and employs eco-friendly construction methods using salt and earth walls.
Ötzi Peak 3251m: Reaching the Peak
By NOA, South Tyrol, Trentino-South Tyrol, Italy
Finalist, 2022 A+Awards, Cultural Pavilions
Perched high atop the Schnals Valley Glacier, this viewing platform offers a unique perspective on the world. The Corten steel structure blends seamlessly with the surrounding rock faces. The design follows the area’s natural topography, framing the vista into various snapshots, each different from the last.
Exosteel ‘Mother Nature’ Modular Prefabricated Houses
By MASK Architects, Orani, Sardinia
These 3D printed steel houses, a world-first, are built for the Nivola Museum. The design takes into account the impact on the wider area, allowing the famously fierce Sardinian hilltop winds to pass through, while also serving as renewable energy sources.
By XinY Structural Consultants, Leye County, Baise, China
Finalist, 2021 A+Awards, Concepts, Architecture + Engineering
Also known as BigGoose, Skyboat serves as an event space and viewing platform that grants a breathtaking view of the Dashiwei Tiankeng Sinkhole, a protected heritage site. The construction process involved a unique approach to securing and stabilizing the landscape, highlighting the intricate bond between architecture and nature.
Jewel Changi Airport
By Spot Works, Singapore
Despite the environmental impact of air travel, Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore stands as a testament to the potential for ecological mindfulness in the industry. The airport terminal’s 130-foot-tall HSBC Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, set in a lush Forest Valley, serves as a stark reminder of the importance of green spaces for human well-being.
As we celebrate these architectural marvels, we are reminded of the potential for our built environment to coexist harmoniously with the natural world. These designs not only underscore the importance of ecological responsibility in architecture but also inspire us to imagine a future where our infrastructures are built with nature, not just alongside it.
Architizer’s 12th Annual A+Awards are officially underway! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase your own ecological design innovation. Prepare your submission ahead of the Early Entry Deadline on November 3rd.
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