Olympic Stadium (China) – Herzog & de Meuron’s National Stadium in Beijing is an attempt to rethink the classic sports-arena layout for more ecologically correct times. The Swiss architects (of Tate Modern fame) wanted to provide natural ventilation for the 91,000-seat structure — perhaps the largest “eco-friendly” sports stadium designed to date. To achieve this, they set out to create a building that could function without a strictly enclosed shell, yet also provide constant shelter for the audience and athletes alike.
The National Swimming Center (China) – The striking exterior of the National Swimming Center, constructed for the 2008 Olympic Games and nicknamed, the “Water Cube,” is made from panels of a lightweight form of Teflon that transforms the building into an energy-efficient greenhouse-like environment. Solar energy will also be used to heat the swimming pools, which are designed to reuse double-filtered, backwashed pool water that’s usually dumped as waste.
Hydropolis (UAE) – This hotel, the world’s first underwater luxury resort, brings new meaning to the “ocean-view room.” Situated 66 feet below the surface of the Persian Gulf, Hydropolis will feature 220 guest suites. Reinforced by concrete and steel, its Plexiglas walls and bubble-shaped dome ceilings offer sights of fish and other sea creatures.
National Grand Theater (China) – Located near Tiananmen Square, the 490,485-square-foot glass-and-titanium National Grand Theater, scheduled to open in 2008, seems to float above a man-made lake. Intended to stand out amid the Chinese capital’s bustling streets and ancient buildings, the structure has garnered criticism among Bejing’s citizens for clashing with classic landmarks like the Monument to the People’s Heroes (dedicated to revolutionary martyrs), the vast home of the National People’s Congress, or Tiananmen Gate itself (the Gate of Heavenly Peace).
Burj Dubai (UAE) – This is UAE’s answer to the world’s tallest buildings. Upon completion late last year, it is now the current record-holder for being the tallest manmade structure on earth.
Noida Tower (India) – This is India’s answer to the world’s tallest buildings. At 710 m., it will be the second tallest structure on earth next to Burj Dubai which is 800 m. tall.
St. Mary Axe (England) – Inevitably known as the Erotic Gherkin, Norman Foster’s London landmark raised the bar for sustainable skyscrapers around the world. Its distinctive tapering profile is the key to its energy efficiency because it creates a pressure differential between inside and outside, driving fresh air into the building.