Architecture and Green – Setting the Extents _ Silvio Carta
Not so many issues around architecture and urban studies have been exploited as the green question during the recent decades. The raise of green concern is directly connected to the awareness of the increasing scarcity of natural resources, in opposition to a vision of the world characterized by an endless storage of materials to be used by our civilization.
The green question has influenced several aspects of design: from aesthetics (the presence of “green” features into buildings) to technique (intelligent facades or responsive part of buildings). Moreover, a more speculative side of the discourse can be highlighted. As explained by Sang Lee in his “Emergent Techne and Four Causes of Architecture”, green implies a reconsideration of nature and its relationship with people. However, the several attempts to frame this relationship fall into the same structural organization characterized by a constant opposition where green (as a symbol of nature) is considered as an alter in regards of mankind. By this extent, the idea of green implies an invisible watershed dividing people from nature, and the related architectural question is thus formulated in terms of how a possible interaction between the two should be, how it has been in the past and how it should be in the future.
With the dichotomy nature-mankind as a background of all “green” questions in architecture, we can concentrate on how buildings are positioned within the distance between the two terms, and the value or the interest of a particular project lie on the way the design deals with it.
Emergent Techne and Four Causes of Architecture _ Sang Lee
As the sustainability of architecture takes an urgent note, a couple of fundamental questions arise: What is our relationship with nature and what is our role in nature? As we attribute the current environmental problems to the way humans have dealt with nature, it would be appropriate to examine architecture by returning to some key thoughts that strongly bear on the questions. They are Aristotle’s techne and the four causes, and Heidegger’s Ge-stell. These crucial notions help us consider the connection between architecture and nature. They stipulate not only what architecture can be about but also more importantly how we can situate ourselves in relation to nature.
On one hand, Aristotle’s notions of techne and the underlying four causes help establish what it would mean to produce works of architecture and how they may be situated in the larger context in relation to nature. On the other, Heidegger’s construct of Ge-stell helps clarify how artificial living dominates and distorts nature. What emerges from Ge-stell is how we lost our connection with nature. In both thinkers, living with green indicates how we can form techne with nature and natural elements, and possibly consider how we can cease confrontation with nature.
The featured projects in this issue attempt to deal with the natural elements in design one way or another. Each project presents a different set of circumstances and attitudes to the environment and focuses the design objectives on living with green in various ways. These projects not only underscore the creative potentials in opening architecture to the green, but also expose the inherent limitations of modern architecture in relation to the natural elements.
Staying in the Everlasting
New Forms of Life _ Marco Atzori
In 1963, the four architects Charles Moore, Donlyn Lyndon, William Turnbull, and Richard Whitaker, who formed the MLTW(Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull, and Whitaker) group, designed the Sea Ranch in California, a complex of buildings conceived from a new relationship between users, architecture and landscape. The Sea Ranch architecture minimized its impact, reduced its levels of intervention, and related itself to its environmental conditions based on an application of the studies of Lawrence Halprin, a landscape architect and land planner, who planned that intervention in collaboration with the other architects. The Sea Ranch thus laid the foundations for an ecological dimension of American architecture beyond the approach seen in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City, and it introduced a more complex dimension to the mode of occupying a territory and to the relationship between humankind and nature.
Some contemporary projects simultaneously transfer the lessons of Moore, Turnbull, and Whitaker Lyndon onto a more complex plateau, exploring alternative modes of occupying the land and building new pacts for ephemeral colonization(Manuel Gausa), especially related to leisure and the ludic dimension. Temporal permanences in exceptional places which assume reversible systems of construction and minimally built infrastructures for using the landscape infiltrate the environment, subverting the traditionally accepted concepts of land ownership and use.
In the era of sustainability and compatible resource use changed attitudes have consolidated, mutating stable relationships and opening up new spaces and opportunities in architecture related to temporality and precariousness rather than to permanence.
A possible new contract between landscape and architecture.
architecten de vylder vinck taillieu
Questioning Architectural Certainties _ Silvio Carta
lIn general terms, architectural certainties are often based on the déjà vu or déjà connu. Final users of the building usually imagine an architecture that meets their expectations in terms of composition, materials, proportions, and general appearance. Banally speaking, a house should have the appearance of a house and — possibly —not be ambiguously confused for a shop, a public building or something else. To hack these conventions in the use of the architectural elements implies an escape from the standard position and automatically raises new questions for users. The issues that may emerge from a non-standard use of architectural convention, especially in small house projects, can lead either to misunderstandings on the part of the final user, or to surprising achievements that can eventually add new elements to the general discussion of the architectural profession.
The work of the Gent-based Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu epitomizes this possibility by showing the concrete results of what appears to be an ongoing operation of tackling the standard use of materials and architectural elements, here mainly applied