The Positive Green
Designing in Green _ Paula Melâneo
For centuries, man believed that natural resources were endless. The consciousness of the problems of resources’ management lead to the consolidation of an ecological thought during the 70’s. The word Green emerged as a synonym of a new behavior to adopt and a new political flag to follow.
In architecture, Buckminster Fuller was one of the pioneers to be aware of this reality. At that time, architecture was dealing with the exponential growth of cities, where the infrastructures required a quick response which, most of the time, was not such a “green” decision. Slowly, architecture has adapted to this necessity, based on the designer’s ethics, political will, new technologies, a more intelligent use of materials and occasionally looking back to forgotten traditional construction methods. As green roofs, green facades or green interior patios start to be designed in green building complexes worldwide, the word has become generalized – and often loses its effectiveness.
As the architects Lacaton and Vassal state, the first task of the architect is to think and decide whether to build or not. Thus, in the projects presented in this chapter, we analyze the architectural thought that originates them, questioning which interpretation they reflect from Green as a design concept. How do they deal with local characteristics, nature and surrounding environment? How is the forecasted scarcity of resources considered in the design? How do they integrate technological and traditional knowledge? How do these selected buildings give a positive “green” response to specific needs?
Buildings that Come to Life _ Diego Terna
In a world of limited resources, the ability to supply energy becomes crucial to the design of new buildings. Architects are constantly searching for new methods for avoiding energy dispersal, for storing energy and, in some cases, for producing it, in such a manner that the building’s impact on the environment will be low, often zero, if not, indeed, positive.
The design of space has always had to deal with limitations related to energy, but from the Post-war period to the early Seventies, architecture operated under a general optimism, wherein the potential for growth seemed limitless and the problem of the resources was not urgent.
To enhance the quality of spaces, architects of that era demanded an increased role for the power plants necessary to support environments that were artificially air-conditioned and illuminated, regardless of their surroundings.
Today, again facing resource constraints, we have come to think of architecture as a living system that interacts with its surrounding territory, taking advantage of renewable resources while reducing their consumption, all while building forms conceived as if they were organisms capable of responding to the questions posed by the place’s climate.
It seems, then, that buildings can come to life, no longer motionless but actually able to adapt to environmental conditions.
David Byrne, former member of the Talking Heads, shows us, through specific installations, that buildings can already talk, play, sing: a first step in highlighting the sort of interaction with the environment that is necessary in building a new ecology.