Architecture blogs love them because they’re so unique; environmentalist writers envy them because they’re so sustainable. It’s not just about avoiding rainforest lumber and adding a solar panel roof anymore. Environmental architecture now strives to leave a neutral carbon footprint and embrace nature as completely as possible. From banana houses to Hobbit homes, the following modern green households have turned to creativity to truly embrace eco friendly living.
- A Welsh man recently received a lot of media attention for his take on eco friendly living: a Tolkien-inspired home. He used (mostly gathered) locally sourced materials from woodlands and alternative energy sources to construct a pleasant little off-grid cottage. Because it’s half-buried, grass grows over the home like a hill, and being a self-sufficient structure, the dwelling exists in perfect harmony with nature.
- Two architects in Thailand decided to avoid traditional walls for a building they had been commissioned to design. Instead of planks or concrete, they created an entire façade with woven banana plants. The fibers were woven together to cover the whole three-story structure. Clearly, this method only works in certain climates, but this strong basket of sorts keeps sun and nosy neighbors out while allowing ventilation and comfortable air flow.
- Utopic diagrams reveal homes that are 100% green with composting toilets, underground thermal heaters, and a wind turbine just beside the kitchen window, but a house in Costa Rica has actually done it. Built with sustainable materials, the home gathers its water from the rainforest, uses the same sources to power a miniature hydroelectric system, and gathers the rest of its energy and heating needs from solar and thermal panels on the roof. Like the hobbit home, it’s completely off-grid, but unlike that buried structure, it still produces all of the electricity and amenities anyone could want for eco friendly living.