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Environmentally Responsible Architecture


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Also called Green or Sustainable Architecture, it developed in response to mounting worries about ecological and environmental matters from the 1960s, and involved experiments with buildings constructed with natural materials (e.g. timber or earth), which are energy efficient (i.e. are well insulated, and draw on solar and wind-powered sources of energy), and which respect the site. It should be noted that International Modernist architecture was anything but environmentally responsible, devoured energy, leaked it, and was subject to extremes of temperature because of solar-heat gain. Houses built partly underground (in order to reduce the impact on the landscape and improve insulation) have pointed the way forward, but have not been much loved by the public. Soleri's projects at Arcosanti, AZ, employing his idea of an architecture compatible with ecology (Arcology), have been created from the 1970s, and the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, Austin, TX, has pioneered developments. Unlike the Modern Movement, Environmentally Responsible Architecture attempts to involve itself in the retention of old buildings to make them ‘sustainable’ (e.g. the Audubon Building, NYC, of 1891, by Post, restored and adapted by the National Audubon Society, a group concerned to protect and manage habitats, ecosystems, and worthy buildings).

Baggs & Baggs (1996);B. Edwards (1996);Egan (2004);St John (ed.) (1993);V&V (1991);Yeang (1995, 1997)

Subjects: Architecture.


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