2011-04-02: While ‘sustainability’ may be a difficult concept to understand and implement … our collective consciousness of what is not sustainable … unsustainable … should be improving. Does this, or that, intuitively ‘feel’ wrong ? Please discuss.
This item came to my attention a few days ago, via an Architectural e-Newsletter from the ‘US of A’ … and it is a sad, sad reminder of the unsustainable construction frenzy which infected so many people in Ireland during the Celtic Tiger Years.
The Edge is one of our own … we delight in his success, and we are proud of him !
At the beginning of a slick and convincing promotional video, the Proposed Coastal Housing Development by The Edge (David Evans) and his wife Morleigh Steinberg, is described as follows …
” Leaves in the Wind is an innovative five-home green building and organic design project in Malibu, California. Each home is actively seeking LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
All five terrain-appropriate, environmentally sustainable homes will be built on just over 1 acre of the 156-acre site, leaving most of the land untouched and in its natural state.”
A vague ‘artistic impression’ of each of the 5 Houses, available to download from the Project WebSite, shows that the designs are far from being earth-shatteringly innovative … and, in the case of at least 4 of the Houses, they will break the skyline at the top of the hills …
David (aka The Edge) … some Questions and Comments …
- A building which breaks a hilltop skyline has an enormously adverse visual impact. Just visit the Bodrum Peninsula, in the south-west of Turkey, to see exactly what I am talking about. Please move the houses in Malibu. They are not ‘terrain-appropriate’. Don’t destroy the visual enjoyment of the landscape for everyone else in the local community !
- Yes … there are 5 Sites available for constructing 5 Houses. BUT … do you really have a desperate urge to build all 5 ? Why not just 1 … or 2 at the most … and find a ‘sustainable’ use, or uses, for the rest of the landscape ?? Are you familiar with ‘sustainable’ management ? Would you like to do something to slow down the rate of, and perhaps even reverse, biodiversity loss in Malibu ? If you have not done so already … would you like to consult, meaningfully, with members of the local community about your ideas … even at this advanced stage ?
- Have you fully considered the large range of adverse environmental impacts during the long, difficult process of construction ?
- Finally (for now) … I regret very much that you have been an innocent victim of Ubiquitous American Greenwash Marketing … with profound apologies to Canada, Mexico and the rest of Central and South America ! The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Building Rating System is only concerned with certain environmental aspects of Sustainable Human & Social Development. There are many other aspects to sustainability which are equally, if not more, important. LEED is not a Sustainable Building Rating System. And the Green Building Council, itself, knows this ! Please do some proper research ! And PLEASE … do this before the ‘real’ design process commences … and definitely, before any work starts on site !!