The 2009 World Architecture Festival took place this week in Barcelona, drawing great minds to discuss, learn, share and award excellent architectural designs and completed projects. This year’s theme dealt with how to achieve Less With More and the relationship between cities and architecture, with climate change and sustainability playing key roles. The winners of the festival have been announced and we want to highlight four of the completed buildings that stand out for their environmentally sensitive and sustainable designs. Read on to see all of these noteworthy buildings.

Restaurant Tusen, Ramundberget, Sweden

Built near a ski resort in the Helags and Skars mountains, this restaurant is constructed of local birch logs. Designed by Stockholm-based Murman Arkitekter, the round restaurant is incredibly stable and can withstand the harsh conditions of the Swedish winters. The cold winds pass up and over the restaurant, while in the back a protected courtyard stays warm. The restaurant won in the category of Holiday.

Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre, South Africa

Designed by Peter Rich Architects in South Africa, this cultural center, which won the Cultural category, is located at the confluence of two rivers. Consisting of multiple vaulted rooms, the great structure serves to preserve the history of the region and educate visitors about local ecology. Local people were trained to manufacture the stabilized earth tiles that make up the building, and will continue using these construction techniques in their own villages.

The Pearl Academy of Fashion, Jaipur, India

Designed by Morphogenesis, the Pearl Academy of Fashion relies on traditional cooling methods to achieve a very energy efficient design. Two passive cooling techniques were used as well as local stone and tile in this stunning educational structure. Taking first in the category of Learning, the Pearl Academy of Fashion is not only a success in terms of energy efficient design, but in form and function as well.

Unileverhaus, Hamburg, Germany

The Unileverhaus won in the category of Office as a superb mixed-use office building. With a strong focus on sustainability, healthy environments and energy efficiency, the office building adds to the vitality mission of Unilever, a personal care products manufacturer. Located near the harbor in Hamburg, special consideration was made to reduce noise levels and protect the building from the cold sea air with high efficiency heat recovery systems and an ETFE membrane.

+ World Architecture Festival