There have been many fads in architecture’s history. There’s been spikey buildings (Gothic); football shapes (Byzantine); ratio driven abodes (Classicism); insane blobs (Parametricism), featureless blobs; excessive gluttony (Rococo); the list goes on... They storm onto the global architecture scene, make a big noise; “change everything” then get ditched as cliché and passé a few years down the line.
But the latest fad is the one that worries me the most. Sustainability. My History lecturer on my degree course was obsessed with the modernists. He believed we were in a state of no ornament. I believe he is wrong, we are in a state of sustainability as ornament. Some argue that sustainability has become as integral to a building as structure, it’s here to say. But the problem is you don’t NEED sustainable features to make a building exist, it is a superfluous attribute that is added if you have the dollar.
We are blessed today to be in an era where it is considered ‘cool’ to build with the planets best interests at heart. But i often ask how much a turbine on top of a tower is doing, solar panels on your neighbours roof? Sure, visually they scream about your green credentials, about how much you sincerely care about the planet.
“Look what I’m doing to save the world, are you doing your bit? Hmm? No, thought not, I’m a more compassionate human being”
That’s what they’re are all saying. It saddens me that by the time I make my debut into the real architecture world, this fashion will be on the down side of the popularity bell curve. It’ll be in the ditch at the wayside pining for our attention of the architects and engineers.
I hope for all god that I’m wrong. I myself am determined not to let it slip. We can fix the world, and I know that this is an attitude born of the 60s that has remained strong for the last 50 years. Long live the hippies in the building profession.