7 sep 07 | GQ

Green giants: a guide to the ten coolest eco-friendly buildings in the world and how they're turning architecture on its head

By Aric Chen

It should come as no surprise that in the face of the world's growing environmental problems, it is in architecture that we find some of the most innovative-and beautiful-solutions. In several European countries, eco-friendly design is by now practically a given (when it's not outright compelled by law). In the United States we have LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a certification whose greenest rating is Platinum. Granted, you don't need lots of bells and whistles to live and build more sustainable structures-but they sure can help. From a house that generates much of its own power and water to a seventy-one-story skyscraper turned giant wind turbine, these are some of the most advanced new green buildings-and one full-blown city-on planet Earth.

Pearl River Tower
Guangzhou, China

This building won't use just wine turbines--it will practically be a wind turbine, all seventy-one gorgeous, impeccably sculpted floors of it. The Pearl River Tower, now rising in Guangzhou, China, is intended to be the most energy-efficient skyscraper ever built; its aerodynamically curving facade will funnel air through it, powering four massive wind turbines along the way. Partially embedded with solar cells, its soaring glass walls will feature high-tech double glazing to help ventilate and cool the building. And heat trapped between the glass will power dehumidification.