The definition of green architecture is given by the reuse and safety of building materials.
It can also represent the philosophy of architecture that promotes sustainable energy resources, the criteria for energy preservation and the siting of a construction with consideration for its influence over the environment.
In the beginning of the 21st century, the construction of a shelter in all its forms absorbed half and even more of the world’s resources: 16% of the Earth freshwater resources, 50% (by weight) of all raw materials pulled out from Earth’ surface, and 30% or 40% of all energy supplies. The architecture also was careless about green architecture, being responsible for almost 50% of waste deposits in junkyards and 20 or 30 percent of gas emissions.
After the Wold War II building boom, many architects were happy to design representative civic and corporate icons that acclaimed omnivorous globalization and profligate consumption. However, at the beginning of the 21st century, a building’s green architecture and environmental integrity, as in the way it operated and it was designed, became a very important part in terms of how it was evaluated.
In the USA, an organized social strength for green architecture and environmental advocacy, received its very first serious momentum in the 1960s, as part of the youth movement. During the battle against the perceived evils of suburban sprawl and high-rise congestion, some of the initial and most dedicated green architecture activists moved to the countryside. There, they started to live in geodesic domes and tentlike structures. This early wave of green architecture, in a certain way, was based on the admiration of the early Native American lifestyle and its minimum impact on the environment. Even more, by isolating themselves from the city community, these young environmentalists were not taking into account ecology’s most important principle: that interdependent, for the benefit of the whole, elements which work in harmony.
During the 1960s and the 1970s, the influential pioneers who supported a more integrative mission included Lewis Mumford (social philosopher), Ian McHarg (landscape architect) and James Lovelock (British scientist) in their team. They were the first to define green design, and they had a significant contribution to the popularization of green principles.
The founder of landscape architecture at the Univeristy of Pennsylvania, Ian McHarg, laid the basic rules of environmental architecture, in his influential book called “Design with Nature” (released in 1969). Considering human beings as stewards of the environment, he promoted an organizational strategy named “cluster development”. This would fixate living centers and leave the natural environment as much as possible, in order for it to flourish on its own terms. In this matter, we can refer to McHarg as a visionary who considered Earth to be a self-contained, dangerously threatened entity.
In the 90’s but also in the 1980s, the societies that promoted green architecture had radically grown in number. Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and so on, all came across huge membership demands.