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Sustainable Architecture Broadly Considered

Prof Michael Cadwell | The Ohio State University, USA

Sustainable Architecture Broadly Considered

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Much as industrialism played a central role in architecture during the 20th century, sustainability is central to architecture in the 21st century. As such, sustainable technologies will act in concert with architecture's broad cultural mandate: to envision, construct, and inhabit new worlds. To cite a famous example from the 20th century, LeCorbusier's Dom-ino House relied on technological advances in reinforced concrete that provided architecture with a mode of abstraction being explored in the arts. While the concrete orthogonal frame broke the constraints of masonry bearing wall construction, that is, it also described a vocabulary of point, line, and plane, opening to new ways of perceiving and engaging the world. Technology was necessary in this instance, but it was not in itself sufficient. Moving to the present: If we now understand the world as an ecology of interdependent systems, rather than the static assembly of known quantities, then architecture, too, might become a kind of ecological construct. Architecture might not only produce more sustainable buildings, but in this effort, provide new understandings of wall, ground, nature, and sight - new worlds.