On a recent business trip to Chicago, I missed visiting the one building that I really wanted to see (I was working, after all). The Aqua, a recently constructed skyscraper of undulating concrete balconies, supposedly grew out of the Chicago "it girl" architect, Jeanne Gang's, inspiration derived "from stone outcroppings in Michigan." Perhaps the building was named (appropriately) once others realized the design looked like water waves, despite her alleged afflatus. Regardless, its beautiful and simple design holds its own in a city full of architectural landmarks. Unlike most of these landmarks, though, The Aqua will seek LEED certification with its solar shading terrace extensions, rainwater collection systems, green roof, energy-efficient lighting, and other sustainable features.
Another strikingly similar building, albeit much shorter, is the Edificio en la M-30 in Madrid. Architects, Jerónimo Junguera-Liliana Obal, "see the mountains reflected in urban buildings and the rivers in the city's highways," likewise looking towards nature for their man-made metaphors. The M-30 is actually a retrofit to an existing glass boxed office tower, the headquarters for Gamesa, a company specializing in sustainable energy technologies and one of the world's largest wind turbine manufacturers.
I like it . . . but all I see is a tall stack of papers. I think it is my metaphor for the need to clean my office.