Sustainable restaurant a first in building innovation

News /
18 February 2011
Sustainable restaurant a first in building innovation

The Greenhouse - a temporary restaurant promoting sustainable construction techniques and operational processes - opens its doors this February in Sydney’s Circular Quay.

Taking visitors back to basics, Greenhouse is an exemplary model of self-sufficiency, from its green roof-top garden filtration system, the straw bale insulation, local and seasonal menu to the conversion of cooking oil into bio-diesel used to power the entire structure. Greenhouse restaurant creator, Joost Bakker, Victorian-based environmental artist, says this uniquely Australian idea has come to fruition thanks to a strong level of collaboration within the building sector.

“If everything is recyclable then most of our problems are solved,” said Joost. “I’ve had companies from all over Australia offering their support for this idea, with a wish to push the envelope.”

“One example is the specially designed double glazing for the large windows at either end of the restaurant which are made up of part recycled glass. They compliment open areas in the restaurant to ensure there is no need for air-conditioning and open up the restaurant to the beautiful Sydney Harbor views and natural light.”

Viridian glass supplied the large argon filled ThermotechTM double glazed panels that helped Joost’s creative vision.

“Viridian is dedicated to shaping a better world with energy efficient products and Greenhouse is a workable demonstration of how this can be achieved,” said James Harris, Viridian Product Manager. “Being sustainable and using local products doesn’t have to impinge on the quality of the end product. It can in fact enhance it, as well as improve our overall quality of life.”

Looking around the restaurant, the best of green design, sustainable practices and many more examples of reclaimed building materials and innovative techniques are on show.

“The whole building frame is an industrial shipping crate, though steel framing was also needed, which was made on site using 10 large coils of recycled steel,” said Joost.

“All the flooring is recycled rubber tiles, re-purposed from large mining conveyor belts, which usually cannot be used elsewhere, and they were designed for the first time for this project by Tamworth Engineering firm Andromeda.

“The building doesn’t need to be anchored because there are 40 tonnes of soil on the roof, growing our own produce for the restaurant. “A council approved fire-proof cladding system was designed especially for the project which is made of magnesium oxide based material not typically made here in Australia that is forever recyclable and non toxic.

“There are so many different elements here in the building that is new and unique that leaves a lasting impression on everyone who visits it,” said Joost.

Greenhouse officially opens this week and will operate for eight weeks in Sydney with over 1,000 customers expected to be served daily.

With similar installations already shown in Melbourne’s Federation Square and Perth, the next focus for this travelling restaurant will be Europe. The original designs and specifications from the Sydney site will be maintained throughout the tour.

For more information on Greenhouse visit or Viridian glass, visit

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