Green architecture

The New York Times Magazine


While the environmental movement focuses public consciousness to the delicate and vulnerable state of our environment, “green” architecture is hardening into a new orthodoxy characterized by a lifestyle of guilt and sacrifice. Green architecture often stands at odds with the American Dream and the promise that a lifetime of hard work will be rewarded with prosperity and material comforts. Do we have to accept a reversal of this dream to be good global citizens? The project for print, commissioned by the New York Times Magazine, proposes a green architecture that satisfies our quest for the good life while compensating for it. Conceived in collaboration with Atelier Ten, this single-family house sits on an elevated 2-acre lot overlooking a rapidly growing city in the southwest. It is a living, thinking organism; a sophisticated desert dweller that dynamically adapts to its harsh and variable environment. The house comprises twin domiciles, an indoor conditioned house that hovers above its outdoor counterpart. Function-for-function, the two levels mirror one another. Redundancy is introduced as a new form of efficiency. The doubling of domestic functions allows for use and location to be determined according to climatic conditions, thus reducing the need for 24/7 climate control. A comfort shadow tracks the movements of inhabitants and anticipates their needs and preferences. Body and house becomes an intertwined single organism; energy salvaged from domestic activities is banked and used for domestic services as needed. The project assumes a “soft ownership” in which the home is connected to larger economic and ecological systems in a production-consumption cycle.

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