Thursday, August 05, 2004

“Made in Germany: Architecture & Ecology”

An exhibit on ecologically friendly architecture in Germany "Made in Germany: Architecture & Ecology" opened in Barcelona on July 6, and will travel to 14 other cities before it closes, in April 2006. The exhibit highlights the country's position at the forefront of a growing movement in 'green' building techniques.
The German architect and engineer Werner Sobek has made quite a splash with his home, called R128, which he completed in 2000. The house -- perched on a hillside in Stuttgart -- is made entirely of glass, allowing unobstructed views over four full stories. It also relies exclusively on infrared sensors instead of handles, with doors popping open and faucets shutting on and off at the wave of a hand.
R 128 is one of nine buildings featured in the exhibit. The buildings featured range from personal homes, such as R128 and a solar-housing settlement near Freiburg, to a daycare center whose roof collects rainwater used to flush the toilets, to a 'zero energy' subterranean train station (lit by cathedral-like skylights at ground level). There is also a "zero emissions factory," a high rise that makes use of thermal energy, and the "Heliotrope," a solar-energy powered building that rotates to follow the sun.
In 2002, a similar exhibit in the United States -- called Ten Shades of Green -- featured nine instances of ecological architecture from around the world. Of these, four were German. This overwhelming presence is a testament to a general interest in conservation in Germany, and to considerable government financial support. Details…
I just adore environment-friendly houses, and my dream is to have one :)