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10 Environmentally Friendly Architectural Styles


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21st-century/Mid-century Modern
Many mid-century modern homes incorporated floor-to-ceiling windows or sliding doors to take advantage of sunlight, and to bring the outdoors in.
Many mid-century modern homes incorporated floor-to-ceiling windows or sliding doors to take advantage of sunlight, and to bring the outdoors in.
Jupiterimages/Thinkstock

Many people in the West have grown up living in and visiting homes with lots of small rooms connected by narrow hallways, with little connection to the outdoors. But mid-century modern homes were different -- they had open plans, more natural flooring, and interior courtyards or sheer walls and glass sliders to the outside. Houses from the 1960s by architecture firms like Eichler Homes continue to be hot commodities, and many 21st-century, eco-friendly designs have been inspired by the clean lines and efficiency of this style. With well-joined building envelopes, often achieving a hermetically sealed feel, and the circulation of free-flowing spaces and ventilation -- some with movable walls and tracks for true indoor-outdoor living -- this mid-century modern redux is bringing modern eco-technology to a treasured design style.

Another twist is the adaptation of mid-century modern to multi-unit residential design. Housing developments from the Netherlands to South America show the influence of mid-century modern open planning but in a stacked, urban housing form that departs from the apartment style of connected, closed off small boxes. Greening this multi-unit building is breathing new life into this common housing design.


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