below is my answers to a questionnaire relating to a sustainability project - from time to time i wrap my small experience around my current limited knowledge to answer a few questions for someones project.
happy to fill in this questionnaire - i am part of "QJD design studio" and "wildetecture design studio" - google images for both - that's what we do. i prefer the term wildetect when referring to what i do, because i try to be an African fauvistic designer. (what is that? will let you know once its in place (might take a lifetime) - its all still very much under construction.
the answers below. - are my opinion (hate opinions, but i reckon its best to formulate one rather than to have one thrust upon you) i also feel certain opinions are organic and should be - so what i write below is a snapshot of what i currently think. but as i get older, hopefully wiser i will change these opinions for better ones. so my current personal thoughts on architectural sustainability and design is also organic. you see as humans and in our current design mindset. we are sadly currently rampantly harvesting the earths resources and then we use them against our environment - we are by definition the perfect little mankind virus - destroying our host, every brick, every tar encrusted road and every concrete structure we put up. this can only change when we start to put back 99% more than we take out of the environment, at the moment that equation is very much reversed.
one or 2 cultures over time have managed to live without causing 2 much damage to the environment - they never tried to own the land but rather worked with nature to maintain a perfect balance. the KHOISAN and the Native Americans are 2 cultures that spring to mind. i love the way they both went about living as communities, taking it very seriously when they had to kill to eat - showing utmost respect towards nature , at every single turn. they embodied wisdom we could and should be applying today.
answers to questions below
i would love to and i do try promote this concept. but sadly design now days is driven by price and affordability and the clients budget - at present all these words representing green, sustainability , disassembly mean the project is going to cost much more and the client doesn't like that. so its a great concept and currently i try put these ideas forward - but when the costs come back - it seems to be cheaper to go with the new building materials to site. hopefully that will change very soon. companies capitalizing on these sexy sustainable word picture concepts might want to dial back their costs and approach more from a humanitarian level. (not all companies are like this - but when i see green - i sadly do feel the price to build has just shot up considerably)
absolutely - if we can stop this tar, concrete encrusted jungle expanding right now - re-use the current building blocks we have already harvested and created up till now. put this kind of policy in place as a way forward in architectural construction - with limited and controlled new materials being introduced to the built environment system - we can arrest back our planet from the greedy and short sighted. but this sadly is an idealistic view point - so we just do small obeisance to the green concept, whilst we currently rip the eyes out of mother nature.
this mindset needs to change asap.
yes definitely - for design to be pure it needs to be holistic - at the moment our designs are driven by budget - which means the cheapest and nastiest building blocks are used on site- when we design and the end product goal is absolute sustainability - when a city can produce pure water and oxygen like a plant, at the end of its many processes and not plastic, vile sewage waste and pollution. when our design system supports this holistic design process positively - we will be putting back more than we are taking out - we will have reached a point in our built environment that is to my mind the "beautiful city design." at present we dont have enough altruists to make this concept viable. more dreamers and less capitalists are urgently required.
yes this is what every futurist has been putting forward from the Khoi to Tesla. the idea of working with the earths resources sofly, softly is a very important concept. but man being the vile little creature he is - we only respond when the fires we have created and maintained start running out of fuel and start burning our very own backsides. that is why we have these words currently called disassembly, sustainability - but they are just words for now to my mind, used to fill in a contract. these words need the flesh and blood of designers who genuinely are concerned about how our processes are destroying our planet. and that is the challenge - taking it from sexy speech into viable action.
shopping malls for one - represent the extreme consumerist mindset of us all. old school markets are better and have less impact on the environment - in the past people catered for just their daily needs. milked the cow, made cheese and butter themselves, picked the vegetables, traded and still enjoyed a full life. now everything is done for us - we just buy it in a plastic throw away container. so we can have products that last years, to store for generations, all the while turning gold (our environment) into trash. our current design system is losing value with every small plastic item created. the balance between old school and new school will allow us to slow down enough to then realize when we are going to fast. people are aware of the plastic nightmare - but its no where near as controlled as it should be.
no - would love to - my only concern is it will drive up the budget and the time taken to complete. if we stop wanting things instantly, we can go back to a time when magnificent design was thought out and implemented over time using all facets of current human knowledge and expertise.
yes materials are important to sustainability - and hence to this concept of disassembly. in the future we must look to organic building materials - growing our architectural built environment - look to the tree - a perfect machine that has oxygen as its end product, and many creatures hinge off its branches and roots. - if our materials can boast that type of track record, then we will lose the tag of being the earths number 1 - VIRUS. so when our scientists and clever people stop looking for ways to kill as many people in war and start looking for ways to live this life with nature in mind - we will have a full sector on board who can really help with designing our architectural materials better.
i think this concept of permanence is the problem with our approach to architectural design - every few generations should have the privilege of designing their own working and living spaces - at present we inherit a building and then heritage romanticizes the place and we then try keep it going for ever. buildings get old and tired over time - when i worked in London measuring up old buildings to draw onto CAD, i realized old buildings develop a unique smell - "a too many people smell". i think we need to look at creating building blocks that can interchange and be reused within the context of new structures. this building architecture to last forever is a lazy mans notion of causing future generations to sleep. ive never seen a wigwam city that was built 400 years ago still in place. maybe their is something in that notion. architectural designers want glorified permanence - then maybe they should dabble in artistic sculpture and leave the habitation challenges to those who dont mind not leaving a megalith in their wake.
i say these things as an idealist but as a realist i know their is only really one solution to this systems architectural challenges - and its not disassembly or sustainability it is something much, much more magnificent than anything we as humans can ever create.