Take a Tour of London's Most Sustainable Architecture

From a house made of timber to a flatpack architecture office.

Design
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A new book by London-based writer Harriet Thorpe and photographer Taran Wilkhu is exploring the very best in sustainable architecture by offering a deep dive into some of the most impressive examples across the city.

Published by Hoxton Mini Press, “The Sustainable City: London’s Greenest Architecture” is offered as a celebration of the architects and designers who are working to ensure their buildings have a positive legacy. The transformative nature of architecture in its most positive sense is profiled throughout, with original photographs by Wilkhu paired alongside Thorpe’s descriptive case studies.

In her introduction, Thorpe says, “Cities hold the key to our sustainable future on Earth. For, at this moment in time, cities present both a pressing problem and a potentially world-changing solution.” She continues, “As much as this book is about architecture, it’s about people, too – those working together to design the city, and those thriving within it.”

Following, the book has been sectioned into five overarching chapters, with 30 different projects split across each section. The first, “Six ways to build a sustainable city”, features six digestible essays that deconstruct ways in which architects and designers can go about improving what they build. Thorpe offers jargon-free explanations as to why each method increases a building’s sustainable credentials, with topics ranging from “Go beyond carbon neutral” to “Create places people care about”. She gives credit to projects such as The Standard in London for the architects’ commitment to adaptive reuse, and the Ibstock Place School Refectory, which is made up of a diamond-shaped lattice of engineered timber.

The subsequent four chapters are broken down into project categories: Live, Work, Play, and Share. Here, projects include “a home where sustainability feels playful” (Mountain View house by CAN), “an eco-village that empowers its residents” (Bedzed by Zedfactory, Bioregional and Peabody Group), and “a low-cost timber house in a pub yard” (Strange House by Hugh Strange Architects).

The Sustainable City: London’s Greenest Architecture will be published by Hoxton Mini Press on September 1, and will be priced at £30 (approximately $36 USD). Elsewhere in design, Kazuo Shinohara’s Umbrella House has been installed at the Vitra Campus having narrowly escaped demolition.

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