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?