Green vertical garden around the timber windows of this new residential building in Berlin Kreuzberg by Sarah Riviere Architect, Berlin

The “Living Wall” vertical garden with integrated timber windows on the facade of the new building. Photo: © Sarah Riviere

Innovative projects for a sustainable future ...

„construction is not just a procedure to build buildings but a means through which to build community“ Alejandro Aravena, La Biennale di Venezia, 2016

Planning an innovative and sustainable building, regardless of its size, requires careful analysis of existing ecological and social conditions. As every house that is built with real understanding, respect and far-sightedness for local and global concerns makes a long-term positive contribution to people, the environment and society.

Generous Architecture

For me, every new project is an opportunity to maximise the positive contribution that architecture can make to the lives of those who will inhabit it, and to the local and global environment within which it is built. I design generous architecture – that is, architecture that gives much more back to the world than it takes away. As an architect I take my responsibilities towards every client, as well as towards each community within which a building is built, very seriously, aiming to design the most generous, imaginative, and life-giving architecture possible in every case. My office creates friendly, innovative, and harmonious buildings that can become loved and valued social assets in the long-term.

Three steps towards truly sustainable architecture

  1. Responsible planning and construction: Every project is designed to minimise the ecological damage that construction does to the environment. As a matter of course, each project is designed to be built with robust, ecological and locally-sourced materials.

  2. Designing long-term sustainability: these days, more than ever before, we need to look at the long-term ecological footprint of every plot of land on our planet where construction is planned. A friendly, elegantly designed and flexibly planned building stands in less danger of being pulled down and replaced as local needs change – instead it can be adapted and re-inhabited in new ways, dramatically reducing the long-term negative ecological footprint of the site in question. Because every well-loved building that resists being torn down and re-built is an ecological plus for the planet.

  3. New ways of living. A building creates its own modes of inhabitation. Besides impinging on health, happiness and living space, well-designed houses can inspire their inhabitants in a positive way, influencing, for example, residents’ every-day lives and habits through design that supports a new ecological way of life.
    That is why I am always looking for new clients who aspire to develop houses for a new ecological way of life hand-in-hand with my office.

Architecture without arrogance

In my practice architectural integrity is the basis for all stages of the project – I consistently maintain the highest level of responsibility for effective communication, quality of sustainable materials used, excellent design, and generosity to all people involved, from the client through the construction team, to the local residents and future inhabitants of the building. We have zero tolerance for the arrogant or aggressive forces that could damage the design and construction process.

Working together towards common goals

As a former physicist I prioritize clear structuring and transparent cost control within the project from beginning to end. Fair and sensible cost planning involves keeping within budget without compromising one’s dreams. Of course, every building project faces a number of uncertainties – anyone who builds in the real world knows that hitches and unexpected problems can occur on site. In my office these concerns are swiftly addressed through maintaining awareness of common aims, good inter-team communication, and encouraging all parties to pull together towards successful completion.

Combining the international with the local

My work and thinking is based on experience gained over the last decades in various international projects, both independently and in collaboration with other architects worldwide. In each new project, local conditions are analysed in detail in order to develop buildings that respond responsibly to local requirements. This results in buildings that are firmly anchored within their local context, from which they can relate out towards distant horizons. My office works to create harmony and beauty through innovation, without falling back on historicist or old-fashioned solutions.