By Mikaela Jones on 2008-06-10

Intelligent "green fur coats" have been used to help retain warmth in Russian buildings, it has been reported.

British architects and engineering firm RMJM has developed an energy-saving concept which will see the Okhta Tower in St Petersburg encased in two glass sensor-lined envelopes filled with plants and shrubs.

The foliage will provide thermal insulation during the cold winter months and create a source of fresh air to keep the offices cool and ventilated when the weather is warmer, the firm states.

RMJM director of group design Tony Kettle comments: "The building will be alive – it will breathe, think and make decisions about how best to use energy."

The outside surface of the structure will be finished off with an intelligent exterior layer of temperature-sensitive colour-changing glass panels.

In other commercial design news, it was recently reported by online resource Building Design that the glazed extension to Baths Holborne museum will use a reflecting pool to make the structure appear to levitate.