Of mutual benefit

A paradigm entwining social and environmental systems could be fruitful not only in terms of the construction of settlements, but also their operation. 'Industrial ecology', for example, looks at industrial processes as if they were biological ones, shifting production and consumption from a linear entropic model to a circular energy efficient one. Instead of energy being used to produce, say, steel, and its waste being dumped Solar City, Linz, Austria, 1995, Richard Rogers Partnership, Foster...

Climatic differentiation Ken Yeang

In the design of his 1984 'Roof-Roof House' (Plate 53), Ken Yeang extracted climatic function from vernacular style in Malaysian architecture. This was the first step towards developing a fully fledged bio-climatic architecture that attempted to assimilate western buildings types such as the high-rise, with traditional passive cooling strategies taken from vernacular Malay houses. Chief among the latter was the idea of roof and verandah serving as a form of 'umbrella' to protect the interior...

Defining Environmental Architecture

It may be true that one has to choose between ethics and aesthetics, but whichever one chooses, one will always find the other at the end of the road. Jean-Luc Godard Environmental architecture is currently more widely referred to as 'sustainable architecture', and was formerly more widely referred to as 'green architecture'. The vagueness and ambiguity of the word 'sustainable' makes the term 'sustainable architecture' equally vague and ambiguous. There are, after all, many forms of...

The birth of the green

If nature is again in a position to influence architecture as much, if not more than any other cultural domain, how is this to be manifested If, as this chapter suggests, the division between nature and culture is becoming increasingly blurred, how can 'nature' be a clear paradigm at all The answer lies in the cause of this loss of demarcation. There is a blur because culture is able increasingly to understand and imitate the operations of nature. This imitation is of a very different order...

Torrent Research Center Ahmedabad India

Rifat Chadirji Plans

With this recognition of architectures other than western and other than modern, western architecture's hegemony was challenged, although under Critical Regionalism, the building crafts of these other architectures did not gain an equal validity. Frampton was not the only one to see this imbalance as unavoidable. The Iraqi-born architect, Rifat Chadirji Figs. 6.10-12 , although on the other side of the western other divide, Y. Rafiq Residence, Baghdad, Rifat Chadirji. Y. Rafiq Residence,...

Symbiosis Richard Horden

Richard Horden

The term 'passive' refers to those environmental design strategies which seek to heat and cool buildings without mechanical help, such as fans, pumps, photovoltaics or any of the other paraphernalia of 'active' systems, however 'clean' those active systems are. The degree of passivity is often determined by the client, whose views on comfort vary from a demand for total control of the internal climate to a willingness to tolerate greater thermal variation. And yet, even in the most rigorously...

Introduction

Natural Ventilation System Ken Yeang

Discussion can obviously leap much further and faster than practice, which has the inertia of the status quo to contend with. This chapter, therefore, is not about what might be, but about what is developing on the ground in terms of the criteria for engaging with environmental design. A large-scale competition entry by Richard Horden, to which I contributed, demonstrates a level of symbiosis between built and natural environments within a modified modernist framework. This modernist framework...

Terra cognita

Windcatcher Cairo Section

As important to contemporary architecture is the use of traditional vernacular as a storehouse of ingenious passive environmental techniques developed to mediate between climate and interior. When fossil and nuclear fuels come at such a high environmental price, we cannot afford to dismiss low technology methods using renewable energy. This should not imply a repudiation of modern technology, but does suggest its redirection. What characterizes sustainable building technologies, high or low, is...

Cultural differentiation Renzo Piano

Renzo Piano Tjibaou Center Inside Plan

It could be argued that the choice of a cultural centre to illustrate cultural differentiation is somewhat biased. Even architects who did not normally concern themselves with such an issue might in such a case, especially if the cultural centre were particularly sensitive, as the Tjibaou Cultural Centre Plate 55 for the native Kanak population of New Caledonia certainly is. This chapter does not seek to argue the desirability, or not, of cultural differentiation, but to examine the way in...

Between the lines

In a conscious break with the optimism of architectural modernism, therefore, Tschumi said of his own work ' it is not about the way things should happen, but the way things are now today. There are no utopias today.' To represent this loss, Tschumi's prize-winning entry for a park to replace the slaughterhouses of La Villette on the north-east edge of Paris was intended to frustrate any expectations we may have of a readable pattern or closure of design 'relations of conflict are carefully...