These buildings show off the best of nature-inspired architecture

As sustainability and environmental issues start to assume a greater role in the considerations of architects and developers, it appears the age of the megabuilding may finally be over. Taking their place in 2021 are new, biophilic structures – from a school in India to an aquarium in Mexico and a hotel on a glacier – which incorporate elements of the natural world into their architecture, from sympathetic materials and forms to forging direct connections with their surrounding environments.
Svart Hotel, Meløy, Norway
Svart Hotel (pictured, above), built by Oslo-based architects Snohetta on the Svartisen glacier, north of the Arctic circle, will welcome its first guests in 2021. The hotel will use 85 per cent less energy than a comparable property thanks to the inclusion of solar panels and a series of channels cut through its roof that conduct light and heat into the interior.
Sea of Cortez Aquarium, Mazatlán, Mexico


Designed by Mexican architects Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, the Sea of Cortez is scheduled to open in summer 2021, in Mazatlán, just south of the Gulf of California. Its staggered structure is inspired by the idea of ruins being reclaimed by nature. Concrete walls of different sizes will act as vertical gardens for indigenous flora.
Forest School, Pune, India

Work starts in 2021 on a new school in Pune, western India, which will bring together the man-made and the natural. Designed by Mumbai-based studio Nudes, the school will be covered in greenery to create what its architects call a “living skin” that will keep the interior cool and help the building blend in with its surroundings.
Sluishuis, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A 46,000 sq m residential complex on the water in IJburg, Amsterdam, Sluishuis will comprise 380 zero-energy residences, floating gardens and space for 30 houseboats. Designed by Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group and Dutch architects Barcode, the complex will feature solar panels, triple-glazed windows and user-responsive heating.


Tropicalia, Rang-du-Fliers, France

Situated in the Pas de Calais, France, Tropicalia will be the world’s largest tropical greenhouse. It will cover 20,000 sq m and include a kilometre-long walking trail through a range of tropical environments. The project, by Lille-based architects Coldefy & Associés, will feature a double dome that is designed to recycle heat back into the interior.

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