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A Better Way to Build

Foster & Partners A rendering of the Faustino Group's winery, in Ribera del Duero, Spain.

Photo: Foster & Partners

Thanks to a few visionaries who are combining modern design with cutting-edge technology, a green building revolution is under way.

Spain First up: Bodegas Portia (bodegasportia.com), Norman Foster’s winery for the Faustino Group in the Ribera del Duero region of Spain, expected to open in spring 2008. With the help of Arup, a British engineering consultancy, Foster created a three-winged steel structure that’s half-subterranean for efficient climate control.

California Later in 2008, the California Academy of Sciences (calacademy.org) opens in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The Renzo Piano–Arup collaboration uses 100 percent recycled steel for the frame and discarded jeans for insulation.

Zanzibar London-based architect Richard Hywel Evans has designed a zero-carbon resort on Zanzibar for Per Aquum (peraquum.com). Opening early in 2009, its 35 villas will draw energy from the sun, wind propellers, and even gym equipment. (Developers promise to completely offset the carbon-heavy process of traveling to and from Africa.)

China The most ambitious undertaking of all, however, is Dongtan, an eco-city on Chongming Island, 25 miles east of Shanghai, slated for completion by 2050 (yet another Arup endeavor). All 500,000 residents will live and work within a seven-minute walk of battery-powered public transportation, sleep in housing built with locally sourced materials, and recycle 100 percent of their organic waste—most of it directly into the energy grid. And you thought composting was cutting-edge.

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