Architecture

The best sustainable architecture of 2021

The best sustainable architect...
TECLA is the very first eco-sustainable housing model to be constructed entirely from 3D-printing technology using local raw earth materials
TECLA is the first eco-sustainable housing model to be constructed entirely from 3D-printing technology using local raw earth materials
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The Sara Cultural Centre, by White Arkitekter, reaches a maximum height of 75 m (246 ft)
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The Sara Cultural Centre, by White Arkitekter, reaches a maximum height of 75 m (246 ft)
The Sara Cultural Centre's main hotel consists of 20 floors and offers views of the stunning landscape just south of the Arctic Circle
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The Sara Cultural Centre's main hotel consists of 20 floors and offers views of the stunning landscape just south of the Arctic Circle
The Sara Cultural Centre's interior decor sensibly leaves the uncovered wood on display
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The Sara Cultural Centre's interior decor sensibly leaves the uncovered wood on display
FOR, by Powerhouse Company, is located in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and is part of an ongoing redevelopment of the Rijnhaven harbor
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FOR, by Powerhouse Company, is located in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and is part of an ongoing redevelopment of the Rijnhaven harbor
Floating Office Rotterdam will sport a partially green roof, as well as solar panels
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Floating Office Rotterdam will sport a partially green roof, as well as solar panels
TECLA is the very first eco-sustainable housing model to be constructed entirely from 3D-printing technology using local raw earth materials
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TECLA is the first eco-sustainable housing model to be constructed entirely from 3D-printing technology using local raw earth materials
Italian 3D printing company WASP has joined forces with Mario Cucinella Architects to construct an innovative 3D printed dwelling
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Italian 3D printing company WASP has joined forces with Mario Cucinella Architects to construct an innovative 3D printed dwelling
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The Hil
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The HiLo's floors have been created using 70 percent less concrete than a typical similar building
The HiLo unit has been installed on top of the existing NEST research building in Dubendorf, Switzerland
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The HiLo unit has been installed on top of the existing NEST research building in Dubendorf, Switzerland
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The Nodi is located in Gothenburg, Sweden, and consists of just five floors. Its interior measures 4,659 sq m (roughly 50,000 sq ft)
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The Nodi is located in Gothenburg, Sweden, and consists of just five floors. Its interior measures 4,659 sq m (roughly 50,000 sq ft)

The Nodi is topped by a rooftop terrace area
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The Nodi is topped by a rooftop terrace area
Casamia Community House's intricate ceiling reaches a maximum height of 9 m (2
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Casamia Community House, by VTN Architects, features an intricate ceiling that reaches a maximum height of almost 9 m (roughly 29 ft)
Casamia Community House is placed on a concrete plinth and consists of a total of 22 frames of bamboo columns, trusses, and bracing
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Casamia Community House is placed on a concrete plinth and consists of a total of 22 frames of bamboo columns, trusses, and bracing
Casamia Community House is topped by a traditional Vietnamese thatch roof
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Casamia Community House is topped by a traditional Vietnamese thatch roof
This project represents a seven-floor mixed-use structure, consisting of 69 residential apartments
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This project represents a seven-floor mixed-use structure, consisting of 69 residential apartments
Garrison Architects has joined forces with sustainable developers South End Development to create the very first triple net-zero mixed-use project in the United States
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Garrison Architects has joined forces with sustainable developers South End Development to create the very first triple net-zero mixed-use project in the United States
974 Stadium, by Fenwick Iribarren Architects, consists of a steel framework and a roof, with the containers slotted in and used to host seats, concession stands, and toilets
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974 Stadium, by Fenwick Iribarren Architects, consists of a steel framework and a roof, with the containers slotted in and used to host seats, concession stands, and toilets
Once the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament comes to a close, the idea is that 974 Stadium will be dismantled and either rebuilt elsewhere or recycled
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Once the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament comes to a close, the idea is that 974 Stadium will be dismantled and either rebuilt elsewhere or recycled
The Ras Abu Aboud Stadium is designed by Spain's Fenwick Iribarren Architects
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The Ras Abu Aboud Stadium is designed by Spain's Fenwick Iribarren Architects
The Pavilion is situated on top of a tunnel that hosts an underground light rail track and had to be relatively lightweight as the ground couldn't support a heavy structure
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The Pavilion is situated on top of a tunnel that hosts an underground light rail track and had to be relatively lightweight as the ground couldn't support a heavy structure
The Pavilion is topped by a terrace area. It also features a partially green roof, as well as solar panels which reduce its draw on the grid
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The Pavilion is topped by a terrace area. It also features a partially green roof, as well as solar panels which reduce its draw on the grid
The Xuhui Runway Park includes a series of pathways, cycle paths, and garden areas
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The Xuhui Runway Park includes a series of pathways, cycle paths, and garden areas
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Sustainability has become a major focus for architects, and as 2021 draws to a close we take a look back at some of the best, most interesting, and most innovative examples of sustainable architecture that caught our eye throughout the year.

If we were going to take a strict approach to sustainable architecture, we should keep our list focused primarily on projects like timber towers and existing buildings that have undergone an energy efficient renovation – the greenest building is one that's already built, after all – but that wouldn't make for a particularly interesting list.

Therefore, we've widened our scope to cover everything from a shipping-container-based stadium that could reduce waste when countries host major sporting events, to a wooden restaurant built on an awkward site that would usually be deemed unsuitable for construction – plus there's a residential project that isn't actually complete but promises to be very energy efficient once it is.

The projects range from Europe, China, the US and the Middle East, and differ in style, budget, and purpose, but all showcase some element of sustainable design. So let's get to it.

Best sustainable architecture of 2021

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