The first episode begins in New York, a city that is leading the charge to green its industrial skyline with several groundbreaking projects. New York combats the urban myth of the bustling city as a "concrete jungle." "The Green Apple" explores some of Manhattan's most prominent and technologically advanced structures like One Bryant Park and The Solaire, as well as the innovative minds behind them. The episode illustrates how the ubiquitous skyscraper can surprisingly be a model of environmental responsibility.
"Green for All," follows architect and activist Sergio Palleroni as he continues his mission to provide architectural and design solutions to regions in social and humanitarian crisis. Palleroni already has four global initiatives underway aimed at providing architecture students with hands-on field experience building housing for the poor. This episode finds him in East Austin, Texas and in Mexico, where he and his student team are helping threatened communities build thousands of homes while teaching residents to be resourceful in cutting costs and using local materials.
In "The Green Machine," Mayor Richard Daley takes viewers on a tour through Chicago, and showcases his mission to make it "the greenest city in America." Chicago already demonstrates a remarkable commitment to green design and construction, with over 40 buildings registered for LEED certification, an integrated solar-powered public transportation system with a biker commuter station and over two million square feet of green roofs, including City Hall.
"Gray to Green" takes the notion of the three R's (reduce, reuse, recycle) to grand proportions by looking at Boston's "Big Dig" and the massive amount of waste created by the $15 billion public works project. Paul Pedini, a civil engineer on the project, had the idea to build his own home from the Big Dig waste. The success of this project sparked plans to create an office complex in Massachusetts from the same recycled material. These innovative projects serve as prototypes to demonstrate to city officials that there is value in recycling on such a grand level.
The series moves to China, whose soaring population and rapid industrialization have created a boom in urbanization that is unprecedented in human history. To try to tackle this global issue, "China: From Red to Green?" explores green design solutions in both theory and practice, including Steven Holl's Linked Hybrid project, which will have the largest residential geothermal heating/cooling and greywater recycling system in the world upon completion. William McDonough shares his innovative plans to make China an entirely sustainable country and the ways architecture can be both profitable and environmentally intelligent.
The first season of e² design concludes with a look to the future. "Deeper Shades of Green" focuses on remarkable thinkers and designers of our time: Ken Yeang, Werner Sobek and William McDonough. Nothing short of geniuses, these architects are challenging society and environmental design philosophically, psychologically, technically, aesthetically, politically, and culturally. Each is radically changing the face of not only architecture, but of environmentalism.
Ladakh, India is one of the most remote regions on earth. Beset with religious, political and cultural strife, it is also one of the most tumultuous. Enter the Druk White Lotus School, which intends to equip Ladakhi children for living in the modern world while simultaneously embracing Buddhist traditions. Commissioned by His Holiness The Twelfth Gyalwang Drukpa and designed by Arup architect Jonathan Rose, the school features sustainable technologies that suit the altitude and landscape, as well as Ladakh's cultural climate.
Government buildings are not historically associated with sustainability or exquisite design. But the U.S. General Services Administration's (GSA) Design Excellence program is changing that perception. The program commissioned Pritzker Prize-winning Architect Thom Mayne to design the San Francisco Federal Building, a structure that aims to be the prototype for tomorrow's workplace.
Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, transformed one of the world's most chaotic cities into a model of civic-minded and sustainable urban planning. He reformed public transportation, added greenways, built mega-libraries and created the longest stretch of bike-only lanes in the world. But along the way, he met tremendous opposition from the very people he was attempting to help.
New York City is known for its diversity, but that quality isn't always reflected in its public housing developments, which often ignore the social and cultural characteristics of the communities who live in them. This episode follows third generation-developer Jonathan Rose through Irvington, Harlem and the Bronx - communities where Rose is putting sustainability within reach of public housing residents.
Dutch planners tap into their innate design sensibility and the industrial landscape to create a sustainable development in Amsterdam's abandoned dockyards, Borneo Sporenburg. Offering an alternative to the trappings of suburban sprawl, the development maximizes space while maintaining privacy, and uses the vast waterways as core landscape design elements.
Buildings are responsible for almost half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Can a collaborative effort - government leaders, architects, regulatory agencies and building suppliers - avert a climate crisis through policy change and education? Architect-turned-activist Ed Mazria may have the answer. His Architecture 2030 organization is galvanizing commitment to a carbon-neutral building sector by the year 2030.
Cairo, a city of 16 million, is one of the most densely populated in the world, with only one square foot of green space per person prior to 2005. His Highness the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, saw the need to relieve this congestion. The result is Al-Azhar Park: a 500-year-old dump-turned-"urban lung" that provides much-needed green space and a source of civic pride.
Architect Brian MacKay-Lyons grew up on the shipyards of Nova Scotia and borrows from that lean, economical building tradition in his architecture. From the Barn Yard in his village to the Canadian Embassy in Bangladesh, this episode presents a lesson in local vernacular - why it works and how it might be the most sustainable form of architecture there is.
By the mid-1970s, Melbourne was a dying city. People commuted in to work during the day, but downtown became a ghost town after 5 p.m. This episode explores how leadership and vision transformed the cityscape. Rob Adams, Melbourne's director of design and urban environment, gives a guided tour to show how the city first sought livability, then sustainability, and how the two are inextricably intertwined.
World-class architect Renzo Piano draws on nature to create a structure that defines a natural history museum for the 21st century. Combining Piano's signature transparency design with a green roof evoking its surroundings, San Francisco's new California Academy of Sciences provides a model for sustainability, and sets a benchmark for how people use, operate and interact with public buildings.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the citizens of New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward weren't about to watch their community disappear, even as government officials at all levels turned a blind eye to their plight. This story profiles community leaders fighting to rebuild the neighborhood sustainably, and the outsiders — including renowned architect Bob Berkebile, and organizations Global Green and Brad Pitt's Make It Right — who are working to make this possible.
The partners of 2012 Architecten in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, are making surplus superfluous, reusing everything from I-beams, wood floors, car tires, washing machines, stainless steel sinks and even windmill blades as building materials in their creations. 2012 Architecten’s work suggests not only a new kind of aesthetic and functionality in sustainable architecture, but also a new approach to design.