In the New York Times Magazine of May 20th, Nicolai Ouroussoff discusses the great progress that Europe has made in designing and building green buildings. In fact, Europe is way ahead of the United States in commonly requiring and integrating green building elements, such as energy efficiency and sustainability.
As he says "By the mid-90s, all new construction in Europe had to meet basic requirements in energy consumption, and many European architects began to make sustainability a central theme in their work." Most of the green architecture shown does not "look" green at all, but just quietly integrates these elements into the overall functioning and design of the buildings. Examples are the Dessau, Germany headquarters of the environmental agency, with underground pipes that heat and cool the building as well as the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart that has thick concrete walls to store hot and cool air that is drawn into an atrium.
This Magazine issue has several articles that discuss "eco-tecture"- the design movement of green buildings, zero-energy, green cities, and sustainable living.
It is good to see that the concepts of green building and sustainability are finally getting some needed attention.