Bioclimatic architecture is a way of designing buildings and manipulating the environment within buildings by turning to advantage natural forces around the building. Thus it concerns itself with climate as a major contextual generator, and with benign environments using minimal energy as its target. Bioclimatic architecture aims to protect and enhance the environment and life. It is developing on many different levels from rethinking basic concepts about our need for shelter and the function of the "city" in our lives to developing recycled or sustainable building materials.
The impact of traditional building on the environment and natural resources is enormous. However, the idea of designing and building structures that are environmentally friendly has become fairly widespread throughout the community of architects and builders in developed nations. In many areas there is the necessity of complying with new regulations and standards aimed at protecting the environment. In addition, there are an increasing number of incentives for putting up buildings with more efficient energy consumption and that reduces the negative impacts on natural resources by using recycled or sustainable materials. There is awareness that our need for shelter must not jeopardize the environment.
There is growing interest in "green" building practices, which offer an opportunity to create environmentally sound and resource-efficient buildings by using an integrated approach to design.
"Green" buildings promote resource conservation through energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation features. They take into consideration the environmental impact of the building and minimize waste. Other goals are to create a healthy and comfortable environment, to reduce operation and maintenance costs, and address issues such as historical preservation, access to public transportation and other community infrastructure systems. The entire life cycle of the building and its components is considered, as well as the economic and environmental impact and performance.
As public awareness of environmental issues increases, the construction developers are also beginning to see that "green building" can be profitable and a selling point. Market surveys are showing that a surprising number of potential buyers are interested and will pay the higher prices for a home that is environmentally friendly. In the last few years there has been much talk concerning environmentally responsible architecture, that is, architecture respectful of the earth's resources and its natural beauty. Unfortunately, many of the architects and designers who profess interest in the concept of sustainable architecture do not practice it in their own work for whatever reason, be it their client's lack of interest or their own lack of conviction. In fact, most architects ignore the issue altogether, preferring to regard architecture as fashion. This is a terribly irresponsible view, because in terms of energy use and visual pollution, buildings have had an increasingly severe and damaging impact on the environment, this makes the issue of sustainable architecture not only an important consideration but also a necessary one. As for a building philosophy for national parks, which were created to conserve nature for future generations, it seems that sustainable architecture, or "integrated bioclimatic architecture", is the only logical and responsible approach.
What is integrated bioclimatic architecture? It is the architecture that arises out of the landscape, with the site determining the orientation and construction of a building, not just aesthetically, but also mechanically, determining its heating, cooling, and lighting too. Thus, it is an architecture that respects nature and its resources and provides its occupants with the most comfortable and pleasing environment. However, this architectural approach need not be a restrictive one for imaginative practitioners. As integrated bioclimatic architecture encompasses examples of vernacular architecture, like the typical "white stucco Mediterranean fishing village", as well as mimetic architecture, which draws on the materials, textures, even the plants of the surrounding landscape for its inspiration. Indeed, good integrated bioclimatic architecture should exist in harmony with the site.