One of the tragedies of design in the last 50 years has the homogenization, the sameness, wherever you go around the world. Houses look the same, office buildings look the same; when in fact climate and social conditions differ radically. What let them be all the same was cheap energy: add more air conditioning here, more heat there. You couldn't have an "International Style" without it.
[Japan Condenses] some of the most innovative interior design in the world with space constrained design vernaculars leading to extraordinary solutions for urban living.
Here, the approach to sustainability is to go small, in a society where space is at a premium (and the lots are tiny to start with).
The difference between the two projects shown here goes beyond local climactic conditions; it is hyperlocal, affected by social conditions and expectations. Andrew writes:
Rather than put great cutting edge building projects in isolation we want to look both inward at how they work and came to be, and outward at how environmentally astute architecture is informed by and can redefine the society they are placed in.