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In our blog, we try to highlight creative architects, engineers, and designers that have chosen not to wreak havoc on the environment by way of cutting or distorting the natural land but creatively finding ways to blend their designs with nature. Designers that have built on land thought to be more difficult because of its site, such as the Iconic Tolo House by architect Alvaro Leite Siza.

Tolo House by architect Alvaro Leite Siza

To take a quote from Paul Hawken, environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author ‘the first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them‘.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Fallingwater’

This is exactly what we explored in our article entitled  Biomimicry: Imitating nature in our designs.

The Eastgate Center in Harare, Zimbabwe, stays cool thanks to a termite-inspired ventilation system.

Today, we have decided to discuss how exactly can you create a green design. Mendler et al. identify global goals that must be part of a green design:

  • Waste nothing (a “less is more” approach; reuse, avoiding specification of scarce materials).
  • Adapt to the place (indigenous strategies; diversity, form fit to function).
  • Use “free” resources (renewable energy, renewable materials, locally abundant resources).
  • Optimize rather than maximize (synergies, less reliance on active, mechanical systems).
  • Create a livable environment (protect sensitive ecosystems, actively restore damaged habitats, look for pedestrian-friendly and mixed-use design options; avoid toxic materials).

To conclude, we do so with a quote:

Green design transcends mere descriptions of the techniques that may be employed in shaping a more sustainable existence on Earth. It must also incorporate the principles, processes, and cycles of nature in a way that leads to a deeper understanding of what makes a design successful.’

Stone House by Architects Vo Trong Nghia


Vallero, D., & Brasier, C. (n.d.). Society’s Call for Green Design. InSustainable Design. The Science of Sustainability and Green Engineering. 2008: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Relating Topics

Why we need Building Information Modeling (BIM) for our projects.

Sometimes the best things in life are green : Stone House by Vo Trong Nghia

The Willow House: Indoor/Outdoor Connection.

How to make your home Eco Friendly

High Performance Buildings: The best buildings in the world

Wildlife Crossings: Engineering that saves lives.