Interior Design’s Greenest Projects
10. Service Employees International Union’s local 32BJ SEIU Headquarters
Firm: Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel, Architects
Location: New York
Standout: Because windows are such a scarce commodity, GKV brought natural light as far in as possible. In the legal department, glass enclosed offices borrow afternoon sun from the large windows nearby—one of the moves that contributes to the project’s LEED certification.
9. World Food Prize Foundation Headquarters
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Standout: As with most repurposed buildings, the major work is unseen: the geothermal wells beneath the formal gardens, the cistern for rainwater reuse, the photovoltaic roof panels, and the restoration of leaded glass and WPA murals.
8. A Super-Sustainable, Experimental House by Young Dutch Designers
Standout: A glass, larch, concrete, and steel structure partially encased in a manmade hillside acts as a natural and sustainable—not to mention conversation-starting—form of thermal insulation.
7. Monash University – Briggs and Jackomos residences
Firm: BVN Architecture
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Standout: The new housing for 600 students at Melbourne’s Monash University has set a new standard: the two five-story buildings are the first multi-unit residences in the country to achieve a Green Star rating for sustainable construction.
6. Villa Flora
Firm: Kristinsson Architecten
Location: Venlo, The Netherlands
Standout: Designed as a study for the World Horticultural Expo (Floriade), Villa Flora is a greenhouse and office building combined, illustrating the theory of the reversed metabolism of plants and humans.
5. Stoller Family Estate Winery
Firm: Ernest R. Munch Architect Urban Planner
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Standout: The 4,000-square-foot building features 236 solar panels on its roof and support columns salvaged from an old Portland warehouse. The panels, manufactured in the U.S. by SunPower, generate 100 percent of the tasting room’s electricity.
4. Baker & McKenzie’s Headquarters
Firm: Goettsch Partners
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Standout: As Jim Prendergast puts it, “Rather than being like most law-office interiors, this place looks like a firm on TV.” Put that down to a surfeit of space and light. Soaring window walls, offering views of the sky and lake Michigan, allow in enough daylight to help the project earn LEED Gold certification.
3. Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands and Sunnylands Center & Gardens – Visitors Center
Firm: Frederick Fisher and Partners Architects; Michael S. Smith; Office of James Burnett
Location: Rancho Mirage, California
Standout: The plantings are a major part of the project’s eco bona fides, but factors start most visibly with the photovoltaic panels that double as shade-providing canopies for a parking lot. Still hard to imagine a glass box in the desert achieving LEED Gold? There’s a field of geothermal wells contributing to nearly net-zero consumption.
2. InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort
Firm: Bensley Design Studios
Location: Danang City, Vietnam
Standout: When InterContinental Hotels Group hired Bangkok-based architect and landscape architect Bill Bensley to design their 197-room resort on Vietman’s Son Tra Peninsula, they knew they’d end up with many firsts, ideally related to their “Green Engage” program, which here resulted in a funicular railway that links the hillside resort’s many levels and yields a smaller carbon footprint than, say, a golf cart.
Standout: It’s the first building to achieve 6-Star Green Star SA certification, which is similar to LEED Platinum. It is, in fact, is the only 6-Star rated building to date and was build as a concept building, to showcase innovative techniques and design for construction, electrical, mechanical, and wet services. But it’s also the working home of innovation for the telecommunications firm, generating 215% of it’s own power requirements.