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Thomas & Lobo/IJES/ 11(2) 2022 ; 56-61
International Journal of Environmental Sciences 56
A Review on Environmental Architecture and Landscaping for
Sabitha Thomas1 and Sherwin Lobo2
1 Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology, St. Joseph's College (Autonomous), Bengaluru-27, India.
2Undergraduate student, Department of Zoology, St. Joseph's College (Autonomous), Bengaluru-27, India.
ARTICLE INFORMATION ABSTRACT
Sustainable ecosystems connect the environment with its organisms and that spatial connectivity between organism and
environment makes ecology an excellent model for sustainable design (Bergman, 2012). Although this paper focuses mainly
on Environmental Architecture which is the need of the hour, it also points out the differences between environmental
architecture, landscaping and the blur that exists in between. According to Fredrick R. Bonci, founding principal,
LaQuatraBonci Associates, “Landscape architecture is truly an art that integrates the idea of the built environment with
nature, and most importantly, how it relates to the individual.” (Foster, 2010). Essentially, while planning to work on an
outdoor space, it is either to make it environmentally friendly or friendlier for outdoor activities. The many examples include
Central park in New York, Yellowstone national park, USA, more locally, Cubbon park and Lalbagh botanical garden in
Bangalore. Environmental Architecture can be defined as the designing of structures, either for residential or commercial
purposes, in order to minimize the otherwise obstruction caused to environmental processes. Environmental architecture
should have more to do with creating rather than the planned landscaping. Environmental architecture is confined to a
relatively shorter area with assured outcomes with minimum to no variations, whereas, Landscaping can be confined to your
garden in your house or to a park as big as Central park which has an area of 3.14km2. The outcomes of landscaping vary
according to seasonal as well as diurnal variations.
Landscaping, as important as it is, not only in providing healthy outdoor spaces, but also in maintaining the immediate
weather and requires environmental architecture. The exponential rise in population, the flocking of the population in the
“big cities”, the increasing living as well as environmental stress that said population exerts, need to be dealt with swiftly,
and as efficiently as possible, which, without proper planning could lead to local as well as global catastrophes.
Environmental architecture is the solution to this issue at a global level. This review is a thorough analysis on various
environmental architectural establishments and the ways in which they help to uplift, or preserve the immediate
Vol. 11. No.2. 2022
©Copyright by CRDEEP Journals. All Rights Reserved.
Contents available at:
International Journal of Environmental Sciences (ISSN: 2277-1948) (CIF: 3.654)
A Peer Reviewed Quarterly Journal
Sustainable architecture or green buildings have become the common interest of many
disciplines in the recent years because the construction is basically in accordance with the
environmentally friendly principles. The art of designing and constructing houses, buildings,
establishments for the purposes of housing, recreation, a place for communities to meet,
education etc. requires thorough understanding about the landscape and how sustainable it
would be. In this paper, a thorough review and analysis of buildings which generate energy,
conserve and protect environment using biodegradable materials, algal and bacterial based
facades, solar energy, creation of natural biomes, cloud forest etc. was done. It is an attempt
to allow people to re-imagine the basic imaginations of architecture; but with an exception,
that all the projects highlighted here are helping to protect and preserve the environment in
one way or the other ultimately leading to sustainable development for sustainable cities at a
global level. Green architecture reduces the harm done to the environment through emission,
pollution, wastage of components, indoor air quality and to human health as well.
Thomas & Lobo/IJES/ 11(2) 2022 ; 56-61
International Journal of Environmental Sciences 57
environmental conditions ultimately leading to a sustainable future. The establishments listed below were chosen for their
inventiveness and efficiency, but it’s vital to remember that any effort, no matter how small, is valuable and necessary in
Materials and methodology
Sustainable environmental architectural designs
The following are a few of the numerous marvels in the field of architecture around the world. These green buildings have set
the bench mark and continue to encourage aspiring architects to push the boundaries of what architecture should be and what
architecture should do.
1) Biq house hamburg, Germany
Designed by Arup, SSC Strategic Science Consultants and Splitterwerk Architects in Hamburg, Germany, is the world’s first
algae-based bio-reactive-façade. The sun-facing sides of the building have a second outer shell set into the façade itself.
Within this shell, microalgae – tiny plants, most no larger than bacteria – are produced. They allow the house to generate its
own energy. The only thing that the algae have to do is grow. A separate water circuit running through the façade supplies
them with liquid nutrients and carbon dioxide on a continuous basis. The algae can photosynthesize and grow with the help
of sunlight. This is the world’s first façade of its kind, and it employs cutting-edge energy and environmental technology. The
microalgae used in the facades are grown in 2,5m x 0,7m flat panel glass bioreactors. A total of 129 bioreactors have been
installed on the four-story residential building’s south west and south east faces (Architonic, 2013). They also provide shade
and control light. Inside, the living concept aims to maximize efficiency for daily life and provides a glimpse into future
urban life. The BIQ is a highlight of the “The Building Exhibition within the Building Exhibition” thanks to its innovative
living concept, futuristic exterior, and “intelligent” algae façade (IBA Hamburg today, 2013).
Fig 1: BIQ House, Hamburg, German
2) Farming Kindergarten biên hòa, vietnam
Constructed by VTN Architects, this building is designed for the children of the factory workers of a big shoe company that it
is located beside. This building acts as a continuous green roof acting as an extensive playground, providing food and
farming experience to the children as they play and learn at the same time. The roof has a triple-ring shape encircling three
courtyards in between. The roof lowers at a few points to provide access where vegetables and other plants are grown in
order to teach the children the importance of farming. The roof uses recycled factory to irrigate the farms. The combination
of local materials (ex. Bricks, tiles) and low-tech construction methods are applied, hence not only reducing the
environmental impact but also supporting the local industries (Archdaily, 2014).The windows that are placed on both sides of
the walls allow for sunlight to enter giving natural lighting as well as natural ventilation which along with the cooling effect
of the roof makes the building air-con friendly even though Vietnam is located in harsh tropical climate.
Fig 2: Farming Kindergarten, Bien Hoa, Vietnam with continuous green roof.
Thomas & Lobo/IJES/ 11(2) 2022 ; 56-61
International Journal of Environmental Sciences 58
3) power Hyderural India
power HYDE/ Billion Bricks Homes is the world’s first carbon negative, self-financing home for the homeless for the 200
million plus rural homeless that live in India. This project presents the opportunity to shape the future, where one can be a
homeowner while contributing to the climate change, positively. It does so by reducing cost by using local tools helping the
environment and by utilizing a solar panel as a roof which not only generates electricity but also is resistant to all climates.
The solar panels generate enough electricity such that each home could sell the excess energy and have a sustainable income
to support the family. Each home is expandable, classified into 3 phases, phase 1- floor planning, phase 2- horizontal
expansion, phase 3- vertical expansion, allowing for personal requirements to be met (Architecture brio, 2019).
Fig 3: Billion bricks homes, India Fig 4: Solar panels generating electricity
4) 8-HOUSE Copenhagen, Denmark
Designed by the architectural firm BIG, this bow shaped building is an architectural feat combining both housing and
commerce with the apartments on the higher floors benefitting from the sunlight and the clean air while the lower floors are
for the offices that merge into the life on the street. This building has a raised north east end and a lowered south west end in
order to provide unobstructed sunlight to the apartments. The roof, which is continuous, along with being a green roof, is also
a cycling pathway owing to the Danish cycling culture (Modern Green Structures &Architecture).
Fig 5: 8-House, Copenhagen, Denmark
5)BIMA MICROLIBRARY-Taman Bima, Indonesia
It was created by the architects at SHAU as a part of their project “100 microlibraries” as a means to provide a space for
education for both urban residents and the students. The building consists of 2 floors, the lower floor being an open space for
communities to meet and interact, while the second floor houses the library which consists of at least about 60% of the book
on religion, politics, economics and other common topics and the rest about 40% of textbooks for students. The library is
made from up-cycled ice cream tubs which are not only environment-friendly, but act as a façade by allowing for natural
lighting and ventilation through the cut holes on the ice cream tubs. Since first starting the project in 2013 and finishing this
library in 2017, SHAU have gone on to make 7 more such libraries using sustainable materials creating grounds for
recreation and knowledge (Hua and Kato, 2020).
Fig 6:Bima Microlibrary, Taman Bima, Indonesia made from up-cycled ice cream tubs.
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International Journal of Environmental Sciences 59
Examples of environmental architecture and landscaping
1) Eden project- Cornwall,England, UK
This project located in a china clay pit in Cornwall England was designed by Grimshaw architects, completed in May 2000
and consists of two huge adjoining domes, each of which emulates a natural biome that houses thousands of plants and
animals. The biomes are made from steel frames and thermoplastic, consisting of hundreds of hexagonal and pentagonal
ethylene tetrafluoroethylene inflated cells. The biomes are located at the bottom of the pit, the larger one is the Tropical
biome and it stimulates a rainforest environment, the largest indoor rainforest in the world, while the second biome is a
Mediterranean biome, stimulating a Mediterranean environment. The Tropical biome is the larger biome and it covers 1.5 ha,
is 55m tall, 100m wide and 200m long. Tropical plants like giant bamboo, rubber, coffee and banana are grown here as the
temperature and moisture levels are artificially maintained. The Mediterranean biome covers 0.6 ha, is 34m tall, 65m wide
and 135m long. Plants like olives, grapes and other such plants that grow in temperate and arid conditions grow here. This
project is as much an architectural project as it is a landscaping project. Surely the construction of the domes are the
architectural part of it, but the planned growing of tress and plants in ways to support plant and animal life to create a
“biome” is the landscaping part. Projects like these serve not only as an attraction centre, but also a means for scientists to
experiment with the soil, the plants, observe animals, for which they otherwise would have to go to the tropical forests to
Fig 7: Eden Project at Cornwall, England housing tropical biomes
2) Gardens by the Bay-Singapore
This project is located by the Marina Waterfront in Singapore, completed and opened on 29th June 2012 designed by a
London based team of Wilkinson Eyre Architects. This nature park spans a total of 101 hectares and is made up of three
waterfront gardens, Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. The south Garden is the largest of the
three gardens and is consists of various attractions like the golden garden, the canopy, the flower dome, the cloud forest, the
floral clock, the super tree groove, and a variety of different indigenous gardens such as Indian garden, Chinese, etc. Bay East
is the second largest garden and it has a stunning view of the Singapore skyline. Bay Central garden serves as the link
between Bay South and Bay East and has a 3km walkway that boats stunning views of the city. This project uses a different
kind of Landscaping compared to the Eden Project. Here, the entire project is a landscaping project with environmental
architectural pieces placed in specified, planned spaces. For example, the 18 super trees in the super tree groove are one of
the most advanced architectural structures to exist. These trees use sunlight to make energy with different mechanisms in
them to mimic the functioning of a tree. The cloud forest is another such structure that is an architectural feat.
Fig 8: Gardens by the bay, Marina Waterfront in Singapore
Architecture is going to play a major role in the ways it will change the environment, the only question to be asked is if it will
make it better or worse. The examples shown in this paper are proof to show to you, the reader, that there is progress being
made. Projects like Gardens by the bay and the BIQ house re-instill the belief that environmental architecture can be
implemented and flourish. The need is for more projects like these in each and every city, not just the big ones, with
environment being the first and main priority. It is only with the support of the people and proper funding that enables fellow
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International Journal of Environmental Sciences 60
architects to not only focus of such projects but to excel and strive in it. Recently, microalgae have been extensively worked
on, implementing them into various different types of structures because of their efficiency with which they can be
implemented. Another method is adopted in major cities like London and Barcelona where they are having living walls.
These are huge walls where plants are allowed to grow. These walls not only help make the air clean, but add a certain style
to architecture and are attraction spots for tourists.
Fig 9: Barcelona, Spain Fig 10: London, UK Fig 11: Madrid, Spain showing live walls
As a citizen of the world, there should be steps taken to help in this fight against climate change. For starters it is the use
sustainable materials for constructing houses, buildings, etc. The sustainable materials include:
Bamboo which is considered one of the most eco-friendly material; has high tensile strength, even greater than concrete and
bricks and is highly long lasting, optimum for flooring and cabinetry.
Cork is highly flexible and strong, which reverts back to its original shape even after editing very high pressures. It is also
prefect for insulation and noise absorption
Hemp, the inner fibers of the hemp plant can be used to make hempcrete, which is used as an alternative to concrete. These
blocks are strong and light and have good thermal and acoustic insulation qualities.
Ferrock, it is a relatively new material and it is made from materials like steel dust and iron rock leftovers from industries.
This material is stronger than concrete. It traps and absorbs carbon dioxide as a part of its hardening and drying process
making it a carbon neutral option.
Incase these materials are not an option, the least one can do is the use of precast concrete slabs. These slabs are made in
industries and are then transported to the site location. This way the concrete is properly cured in controlled environments
making the concrete sturdy and strong compared to the fluctuating weather in the sites. This way a lot of the waste can be
efficiently managed rather than the cement dust fly up into the air and become a part of the environment. A rather new
method/scale has been implemented in London called the Urban Greening Factor (UBF). The Urban Greening Factor is a tool
to evaluate the quality and quantity of Urban greening. It enables major developments to demonstrate how they have included
urban greening as a fundamental element of site and building design in order to meet to meet London Plan Policy G5 Urban
Greening (Greater London Authority, 2021). Examples of how an urban greening scheme could demonstrate it is locally
appropriate include, but are not limited to:
• Providing green routes that promote active travel where current opportunities are limited
• Designing a SuDS scheme which reduces surface water run-off into local water courses where there are particular issues of
surface water drainage or flooding
• Taking design cues from local habitat types or the Local Nature Recovery plan or Biodiversity Action Plan
• Designing publicly accessible open space to reduce local deficiencies in access to open space
• Providing other types of publicly accessible greening (such as pocket parks) where a reduction in deficiency to open space
cannot be achieved. (Greater London Authority, 2021)
This method, which is being widely applied in London needs to be applied everywhere as it given a highly accurate rating of
an establishment. It is of the utmost importance that we start focusing on damage control now. The “big” architectural
establishments, some of which I have mentioned before, are of the utmost necessity but what is more important is the “small”
contributions of each and every single one of us. It is only when every person does their part, the buildings can help in really
making a dent in this uphill battle against climate change.
It is clear that, a green or sustainable building because of its construction and features can maintain or improve the quality of
life of the environment in which it is located. To do this, it is essential to achieve a high level of efficiency by reducing the
consumption of energy, water and other resources to minimize pollution. In the given examples, we can see that they are
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International Journal of Environmental Sciences 61
constructed in a sustainable manner by proper landscaping and architectural efficiencies. Global climate change is one of the
most urgent challenges facing humanity today and sustainable development is no longer an option; it is the only way forward.
Those architectural designs mentioned in this paper, with its innovative urban planning and environmental advantages are the
technological solutions which can be adopted in any urban landscapes for a sustainable future.
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Architecture BRIO. (2021). BillionBricks Homes – Worlds’ first self financing home for homeless citizens. Retrieved
December 29, 2021, from https://www.architecturebrio.com/projects-item/billionbricks-homes-self-financing-home/
BIQ. (n.d.). IBA Hamburg today. Retrieved December 29, 2021, from https://www.internationale-bauausstellung-
BIQ house. (2013). Architonic. Retrieved December 29, 2021, from https://www.architonic.com/en/project/arup-biq-
David Bergman. (2012). Sustainable Design, A critical Guide. Princenton Architectural Press. New York.
Hernández, D. (2021). Farming Kindergarten / VTN Architects. ArchDaily. Retrieved December 29, 2021, from
Hua, C. K., & Kato, Y. (2020). Social Architecture 2020 [E-book]. SUTD Architecture and sustainable design.
Mayor Of London. (2021). London Plan Guidance - Urban Greening Factor: Vol. Pre-draft [E-book]. Greater London
R. (2020). 15 Sustainable and Green Building Construction Materials. Conserve Energy Future. Retrieved December 29,
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