written by:
April 22, 2015
From Tasmania to California, these cutting-edge homes prove that sustainable practice is universal.
Active House B10 Prefab Prototype in Stuttgart

Since architect Mies van der Rohe led the European expansion of the International Style into the U.S., Germany has held its prominent place as innovators of modern architectural design. Such is the case with Active House B10, a prefab “power plant” that can be built in a single day. Architect Werner Sobek introduced the name “active house” to serve as a philosophical and literal contrast to the German “passive house” concept, in that this tiny prefab can actively generate enough power for multiple properties through its rooftop photovoltaics grid. The material it’s made of is also fully recyclable.

Courtesy of 
Zooey Braun
Originally appeared in Prefab Home That Can Be Built in a Day Generates Twice the Energy It Uses
1 / 5
Bosco Verticale towers filled with trees in Milan

In 2014, the Frankfurt Museum of Architecture honored the Bosco Verticale towers in Milan with its prestigious International Highrise Award. To create this “vertical forest,” Boeri Studios installed more than 800 trees, 2,000 shrubs, and 1,200 insects to maintain a balanced ecosystem. The flora filters dust particles, absorbs carbon dioxide, serves as a protectant against radiation, and adds an impressive 3.5 million acres of vegetation to the Milan skyline.

Courtesy of 
Boeri Studios
Originally appeared in Pair of Skyscrapers Sneak a 2,800-Plant Park into Milan
2 / 5
UC Davis and Honda Smart Home

Design teams at Honda and UC Davis built a 1,945-square-foot house, 15 miles west of Sacramento, that uses experimental and on-the-market technology to accomplish net-zero energy consumption. The Honda Smart Home features a 9.5kW solar array, which produces a current directly from the panels to the electric car charger without any conversion loss.

Originally appeared in A Modern, Energy-Efficient Smart Home
3 / 5
With its bold, upswept profile, the roof gives this otherwise simple house its distinctive character. But those curves are not merely for show. The concave forms are integral to the dwelling’s self-sufficiency because they act as water collectors and sun

On a 500-acre plot on Bruny Island, off the southeast coast of Tasmania, two New Yorkers built a second home on land with no municipal water, power, or sewer connections. The result was this modern sustainable design that has a tilted roof to easily collect rainwater in two 2,600-gallon tanks. The house also integrates passive solar design principles, with six photovoltaic cells mounted to a shipping container parked some 100 feet from the house. Portable gas cylinders fuel the hot-water system and the cooking appliances, while the bathroom and kitchen waste is collected underground and processed in a septic tank before being dispersed around the garden via a network of subterranean trenches. 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Tait Modern
4 / 5
Witzman residence facade opened

This Bessancourt farmhouse was one of the first German-concept Passive Houses built in France. Modeled after the area’s countryside dwellings, and utilizing non-native, sustainable materials such as bamboo to accentuate its rural design, the 1,733-square-foot home uses only 4,200 kilowatt-hours per year of energy — the average American home uses approximately 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month.

Originally appeared in Organic Living
5 / 5
Active House B10 Prefab Prototype in Stuttgart

Since architect Mies van der Rohe led the European expansion of the International Style into the U.S., Germany has held its prominent place as innovators of modern architectural design. Such is the case with Active House B10, a prefab “power plant” that can be built in a single day. Architect Werner Sobek introduced the name “active house” to serve as a philosophical and literal contrast to the German “passive house” concept, in that this tiny prefab can actively generate enough power for multiple properties through its rooftop photovoltaics grid. The material it’s made of is also fully recyclable.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016