Saturday, April 14, 2007

It's Not Pretty Being Green



THE LATEST CRAZE in architecture, after fizzled experiments in Modernism, Post Modernism, Brutalism, Deconstructionism, and Post-Brutal-Deconstructed-Neo-Modernism, is a genuflection to environmentalism called "Green Building" or "Sustainable Architecture." For the most part, building "Green" means cloaking an intrinsically inefficient high rise building in an ecological hair shirt that makes owners feel good and tenants feel miserable.

The latest example of Green Building has risen in San Francisco, where the city by the Bay has ripped apart one of the grittier parts of its foggy utopia to construct what is surely the most ridiculous building of our still young century: the poetically-named Federal Building.

A unique combination of crackpot environmentalism and elaborate ugliness, the Federal Building will finally opens its doors (or flaps, or airlocks, or orifices, or something) later this month and it will boast a number of odd design "features." For instance, the Federal Building is an office tower tall enough to disrupt the city's skyline, yet its elevators only stop on every third floor--the better to conserve energy.

And after trudging up and down the stairs on a blazing summer afternoon the unfortunate tenants soak in their own sweat because the building has no air conditioning . . . again to save energy.

Who could have conceived of such a thing?

3 comments:

Austin said...

Do you believe in global warming? Wether you want it to or not it is happening. I'm proud that such a building has been conceived and is going to be built. It shows that maybe someone somewhere actually cares about more than themselves.

Phil_B said...

Global warming is a not belief issue. It is an issue of fact, and whether it will continue, how much will occur, and what is driving it is an issue of scientific theory.

People can believe the moon is made out green cheese if they like, but this belief, like all other beliefs has nothing to do with the science of global warming, nor has it anything to do with whether the world warms or cools at any point in the future.

BTW, La Nina has arrived with a vengence. Perth got a drenching today.

Jonathan Lowe said...

austin, it is quite clear that the world has warmed up over the past 30 years. But the reason for it? I believe this is largely not understood (as mentioned in my latest post - act now, with caution). so why spend multiple billions of dollars on something that we don't fully understand?