Today’s lecture made me think a lot about the way architecture has changed, in a lot of ways for the worse. Looking at how buildings from hundreds of years ago were designed entirely with their respective climates in mind was incredibly interesting–from the thick-walled wind towers in arid North Africa, to the sloping rooftops of Switzerland, to the incredibly adaptable teepees of the American Plains. Even Settlers that came to the United States from England adopted certain practices that made houses suited to their immediate environment. I feel like in a lot of ways, industrialization has made us lose sight of what is appropriate given certain climates. Mass production and the availability of tons of energy allows us to disregard the environment we situate ourselves in, plopping whatever sort of structure wherever we want and using the power grid to solve the rest of our problems. Mass production of cheap housing leads to an incredibly inefficient landscape.
In Buchanan’s Ten Shades of Green, he discusses the importance of nature’s interplay with our architecture. We need to make “conspiciously visible its workings and cycles”. We should learn from the past, where people didn’t rely on the mass availability of nonrenewable resources and energy was not as expendable.
By incorporating the cycles of the environment into buildings the way that our ancestors did, we will be able to both build more efficiently, effectively, and re-engage a building’s occupants with the sensory experience of being alive in a certain special place in the world.