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The Strata SE1 ‘The Razor’, Sky Scrapper with Wind Turbines

Located in the London Borough of Southwark in London, England. The Strata SE 1 building become the center attention to the architecture world. Not just about revolutionary design of form and structure. With the development of technology and importance to keep the environment, the Strata SE1 building or well known as The Razor has unique concept of building.

This residential sky scrapper has the source of energy as the consideration of design, since it will be home to more than 1.000 residents. Strata SE1 is one of the first buildings in the world to incorporate alternative source of energy, and installed within the structure. Equipped with 3 wind turbines at the top part of the building, The Razor would generate 8% of its energy needs.

The Razor designed by BLFS and the Brookfield Construction as the main contractor. With development of technology nowadays, this idea of design surely can be implemented, as this building finished in the year 2010. Not only about the beauty of the design, but also the consideration of keeping the sustainability side. Maybe at first, this design is a kind of crazy idea, but in the end with all the preparation and calculation, The Strata SE1 building established with all innovative idea.

Justin Black, director for Brookfield, the developer, said the decision to choose wind was a “conscious decision to experiment”. He pointed out that the entire southern facade of the building would have had to be covered in solar photovoltaics to generate the same amount of energy. “The brief we gave to Hamilton’s Architects was we wanted a statement, we wanted to create benchmarks for sustainability and urban living. We wanted something bold, we wanted remarkable. It’s what I term Marmite architecture – you either love it or you hate it, there’s no in between,” Black said.

Nowadays, we already have the advanced technology and advanced engineering that allow us to implement these to the building since now it is the right time to consider about the environment. Today, it is up to the architect and the constructor how the future environment will be affected by the building because now the world needs more creative ideas.

Reinterpreting Sustainable Architecture by Helen Pangestu

In this article, I would like to share with you six alternative logics of ecological design which have in competing conceptions of environmentalism, and explores the ways in which each logic prefigures technological strategies and alternative visions of sustainable places.

1. Eco-technic Logic This logic explains how you can make a building that in the technical way is environmental friendly. The architect’s design strategy is adaptive to nowadays high-technology system, they maximize efficiency of building in spatial, construction and energy terms. In this system, the architect tends to use all of the materials and they also make a construction that environmental friendly. For example, energy-efficient lighting, passive solar design and daylighting, the use of natural and mixed-mode ventilation, more efficient air conditioning and comfort cooling, combined with sophisticated energy management systems are all part of the High-Technology approach.

2. Eco-centric Logic This point challenges us on how you can make a sustainable building that is not against the environmental. There are assumptions that sustainable building is too complex, the unnatural form of the building sometimes interrupting the natural cycles of nature. In terms of building materials, preference is for renewable, natural materials such as earth, timber, and straw combined with a reduction of the use of virgin building materials through reuse and recycling. This is a new perception of making buildings, we can reuse all materials that the earth already gave us, so instead of making a ‘green’ building with a fine architectural, we can also help to reduce the waste that our earth have.

3. Eco-aesthetic Logic This logic represents the adaption of the architectural design from the natural shape. This is like the new paradigm or the new concept of architecture, which emphasizes spiritually in social and environmental relations that lead to the establishment of whole new civilizations and cultures because today’s concern is more to nature. Beside this aesthetic way can emphasizes nowadays technology like advances in structural engineering, the ability of making curved forms use the computer technology and another improvements, this new concept of architecture that based on the natural shape hoped can be deliver the environmental messages to the people surrounding.

4. Eco-cultural Logic
This point emphasizes a fundamental reorientation of values to engage with both environmental and culture concern. Eco-cultural means that we don’t follow the universal development, but we do preservation for the diversity of our culture. This also means that we use local architecture, local materials and of course local architect. Because local architect knows well about the weather, the contour and the psychological side of local people. Local materials is genuinely can adapt the local weather. So this logic, advise to keep the local architecture with the local materials.

5. Eco-medical Logic
This logic symbolizes the sustainability concerns about appropriate form and wider cultural context of design towards humanist and social concern for the sustaining human health. How building can effects the health of the human that live in the building for example some health issues such as quality of air, water and urban space. A wrong concept of a building can impacted the built of environment and the causes of stress that endanger health, both physical and psychological.

6. Eco-social Logic
This point talks about the social agenda of sustainability that concern the ecological crisis seeing from the social factors. A building can also control the social life of its resident. Social means communication between people, so for example if in one house they have three bedrooms inside but the distance between each room is too far or maybe the distance between the family room and the bedrooms, people tend to stay inside their rooms and refuse to walk and gather with others outside. Another example is the decreasing of natural communication, its like no communication between people with nature. One more time, a wrong architecture can make bad impacts.

Therefore we may conclude that it is possible to  reconstruct sustainable architecture, although this six logics are competing with each other, but it is practical in order to make a sustainable and eco-friendly building. To make an architectural plan for a building we must see from every aspect, considering all the problems from previous architecture and learn from all the mistakes. This is a challenge for every future architects to study what sustainable building is and how they can make one of it in the middle of the high-level of development.

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Sustainable Architecture II by Helen Pangestu

Sustainable urban architecture is actually about a sustainable environment as a whole. It is not just only about one building or architecture. It is about the whole ensemble such as a village, city, or even a country. We should not only think of how to make a sustainable area, but also how to achieve a more sustainable area. Green building often takes advantage of renewable resources like using sunlight through passive or active solar devices or using the plants and trees for increasing the water system, etc. Green buildings are identical with efficiency and effectiveness. The designs are all about how to make an efficient and effective building. This starts from siting and structural design efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency, materials efficiency, indoor environmental quality enhancement, operations and maintenance optimization, and water reduction.

Moreover, architecture relates to the positive and negative spaces. Architects do not only think about the object or the building, but also the spaces created by the buildings, the flow that is created by the existence of the architecture. Sustainable urban architecture is about the connection between one building and another, the flow and the movement of the humans living in the architecture. Sustainability is about how effective and efficient the urban area is as a whole, in all aspects, and about how people living in the city enjoy urban architecture and the environment. Nevertheless, there are plenty of things that we as architects and urban planners can do in order to achieve a more sustainable urban architecture. Below is the list of technical things that the urbanist must plan in order to achieve a more sustainable city http://www.gardenvisit.com:

– Design sustainable urban drainage systems, then the city will require less input of water and less output of waste water
– Respect the Genius Loci (the protective spirit of a place) and use local materials. Then the city will require fewer import of construction materials.
– Orientate buildings correctly and design with microclimate. Then less energy will be required for heating and cooling.
– Make greater use of native and local plant materials. Then the planting schemes will require less irrigation, less maintenance and less input of chemicals.
Design beautiful and convenient paths then people will walk more and cycle more. When people get more exercise, they will have better health, so that the costs for healthcare will also be reduced and there will has less medical problem.
– Design buildings with vegetated roofs. Then the buildings will be better insulated, and will therefore require less heating in winter and less cooling in summer.
– Design beautiful sky parks and sky gardens. Then the city will be more compact because there will be fewer roads, fewer parking lots and more green spaces.

In conclusion, a more sustainable environment can be created through making a more sustainable urban architecture. Our environment is architecture. We live in architecture. Our job as a future architect is to make architecture and the urban environment more sustainable.

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Sustainable Architecture I by Helen Pangestu

Sustainability, in general, is the capacity to endure.  Our environment logically needs to be enduring to make a better life, both for the sake of humans and our earth.  Urban architecture is our environmental challenge. In order to create a more sustainable architecture, this action equals creating a more sustainable environment. To create a more sustainable urban architecture, this equals creating a more sustainable environment. We live in a world full of architecture, whereas architecture dominates our environments in today’s oil-powered life style. Therefore, this essay is about sustainable urban architecture and sustainable architectural environments.

Sustainable architecture can be defined as a general term that describes environmentally conscious design techniques in the field of architecture. In the broad context, sustainable architecture seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings by enhancing efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, and development space.

The Bruntland Commission may have set back sustainable urban design by half a century with a definition: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. This statement is a basic concept of sustainability. Sustainable development means that the current generation uses only what it needs and does not borrow from future generations. Basically, sustainability is a relative concept, we have no absolute definition, like big or small. The earth is big enough for humans, but the earth is small in comparison with the universe. We should think about how to make a ‘more sustainable’ city instead of making a ‘sustainable’ city. In order to achieve that, architects should think of designing a city with fewer inputs and fewer outputs.

The role of individual architecture in the urban environment is quite important. Before creating a sustainable urban architecture, we should design the lower level of sustainability, the sustainable architecture. Sustainable architecture means sustainable energy use. That is probably the main consideration. The most important and cost effective element of an efficient heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is a well-insulated building. A more efficient building requires lower heat generating elements. More ventilation capacity is required to expel polluted indoor air. There are alternative devices that help us create a sustainable architecture by making renewable energy generation such as solar panels that help to provide sustainable electricity. Wind turbines help circulate the air. Solar water heating may be a cost-effective way to generate hot water for our house. Heat pumps can act as a reversible air conditioners. Therefore, green buildings are needed in order to design a sustainable urban architecture. Green buildings aim to reduce the environmental impact of buildings and human health. Buildings generally require a large amount of land use, energy and water consumption, and air and atmosphere conditioning.

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Online Architecture Degrees

So, this subject of online architecture degrees emerged from a phone call from my father, who mostly talked about my education.

Having a higher education is a matter that doesnt exactly need to be questioned, we all know a college/university degree will help us pursue our future dreams and whatnot and for general living of course. But, most students who are keen on applying to universities always have to look at the finance: the tuition and fees. Even though most universities and institutions are open about their tuition and fees, some  schools keep them hidden. This is a burden for low-income families and a disadvantage for schools with talented students who cant afford to stay in their schools (or apply to them). Well, my father asked me whether you could get an online degree in architecture (i assumed one couldnt at the time) and upon my research I found that in America, there are SOME states that accredit online architecture degrees such as universities in Ohio and Arizona, and that there is one promising university that offers them in Canada. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything else (although I found that according to the NAARB, there are no universities that offer a complete architecture degree online..)

Personally, I would go about the architecture degree on-campus instead of online. Studying on-campus for your undergraduate has more of an advantage since you create social networks and get direct feedback from peers.

What is your opinion of online architecture degrees? Would you pursue them for undergraduate, masters, or PhD? If you have information about any universities offering them, please do tell. 🙂

-Sofie Januarti

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Living a Sustainable Life in My Own Living Environment, Jember

By: Sofie I. Januarti

Many people who are willing to save the planet tend to forget that they can do so by living a sustainable life in their own home living environment. In this instance, I will discuss about my home living environment which is in Jember, East Java, and how the living environment supports sustainability and living a sustainable life.

First, to know whether my home living environment supports sustainability and living a sustainable life, we must know about the plot size. The whole plot is approximately 864m2, approximately 242.5m2 of built areas (the house, and store, 28% of plot) which faces the west (laying on the east-west axis), approximately 621.5m2 of the whole plot is open space (soil/land, grass, patio, and driveway space, 72% of plot). Approximately 128.9m2 of that open space is patio and driveway space (15% of open space as well as plot). If we combine the patio and driveway space and built area together, they add up to 43% of the whole plot. The other 57% of the open space contains soil/land, a little bit of grass, moss, and plenty of (fruit) trees but none of those trees are on the north side of the house. Since my house faces the west, it gets quite hot in the afternoon and evening, especially since there are not enough windows on the north side of the house.

Second, in order to determine our carbon footprint, we must observe the family household by analyzing their patterns of living. From my analyses and observations, I have found that my household (of five) consumes 1300W of electricity/month (IDR 186,000/month), two gallons of water/week, and one 12kg gas canister/2months. I have also observed that we consume local, imported, and some organic foods, but we do raise our own chickens which decrease our grocery shopping for poulty meat. Another observation is that we have ten appliances total, including fans, laptops, washing machines, fridges, and televisions. We use energy efficient lightbulbs in all rooms where only one lightbulb is placed in each room. As mentioned before, there are not enough windows on the north side of my house so during the day we still have to turn the lights on because not enough light enters the house, thus consuming more energy/electricity. My family household overall emits about 57 tons of CO2 eq/year, which I’m glad of since it is much lower than the average household of five in the US of 130 tons of CO2 eq/year but still higher than the worldwide average emission of 28 tons of CO2 eq/year.[1]

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family carbon footprint

In conclusion, shown by the above statistics, I believe that my home living environment is sustainable in terms of the open space and built space. However, I also believe that my home living enviroment can support sustainable living even more with some minor modifications. Trees, a vegetable and fruit garden on the north side of the house would reduce our carbon footprint with direct access to daily vegetables. Having more windows on the north side of the house for better lighting would reduce our electricity consumption. From my analyses and observations, I have become more familiar with my own household and household living patterns. I greatly encourage others to do so too with their own living environments to improve the planet’s condition and more towards living a sustainable life.


[1] “Carbon Footprint Calculator”. http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/. 2011.

Eco Centric logic for Environmental issues in Bandar Kemayoran

Mariyam Yasmin

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There are six competing logics of sustainable architecture; Eco-technic logic, Eco-centric logic, Eco-aesthetic logic, Eco-cultural logic, Eco-medical logic, and Eco-social logic. Each logic has its own main focus on the sustainable architecture issue and each has its own method. For eco-technic logic, science and technology can solve environmental issues through rational analysis and management of the environment. Eco-centric logic, a natural approach, is about building and the place of nature. Eco-aesthetic logic is about the importance of aesthetic of a building that is at the same time sustainable, so it focuses on a beautiful, creative and “green” architecture. Eco-cultural logic emphasizes sustainable architecture as a preservation of culture. Eco-medical logic uses a medical rhetoric to focus attention on the adverse impacts of the built environment and the causes of stress that engender health problems, both physical and psychological. Eco-social logic extends the social agenda of sustainability beyond a concern for the individual to encompass a political discourse that suggests that the main cause of the ecological crisis stems from wider social factors. It addresses the democracy as the key to an ecological society.

There is another idea about sustainable architecture called Eco-effectiveness. Eco-effectiveness is how to use a waste to become something that is useful, so it will not left only as a waste. There are five steps to eco-effectiveness: to get “free of” known culprits, to follow informed personal preferences, to create a “passive positive” list, to activate the positive list, and to reinvent. Both eco-logic and eco-effectiveness are supporting each other.

Bandar Kemayoran, the former international airport in Jakarta is actually a sustainable area with its big green area and forest. The only issue that this area has is there are still many slum housing areas spread all over the subdistrict. But since they moved all flight activities to Soekarno-Hatta Airport, the government decided to develop this subdistrict and planned to make it become the center of all business and government activities. The master future plan has already been made, and is planned to be realized in 2030. The future plan is actually good, but the bad thing about this future plan is that it will decrease the green area. The future plan will replace the green area with new high-rise buildings. From the six competing logics of sustainable architecture and eco-effectiveness, the eco-centric logic becomes the concept that is really fit to solve Bandar Kemayoran`s issue. The future plan should be made with natural approach. They should consider the need of green area in the city/district/subdistrict, because it will improve the place and the living, generally. Furthermore, in order to develop a new city with new buildings, choosing good and natural materials should also be considered. So, a new sustainable city could be built with green area and sustainable buildings.

Slums Area in Bandar Kemayoran.

Master Plan of Bandar Kemayoran.


  • Guy, Simon and Graham Farmer. “Reinterpreting Sustainable Architecture:The Place of Technology”.p. 140-147. 2001
  • McDonough, William and Michael Braungart. “Cradle to Cradle”.p. 180-186.
  • Wikipedia, “Kemayoran,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kemayoran
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