Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sustainability? Huh?

Defining sustainability has become a fashion in this new environmental era... many take a shot at what sustainability means to them... some fail miserably and some really do come up with some good perspective.... I tried my luck too...

Some where I read about architectural value and how a design brings out that...

the stars aligned and something clicked.... I have my definition of "sustainable design"

take a deep breath before you read the next line... pretty intense...

"Sustainable design is a design that seeks maximum architectural value with minimum environmental impact"

I was under the impression that this works for any industry dealing with sustainability... say I am computer manufacturer... to me a sustainable design in my industry would seek maximum value out of everything (people, products, time etc...) with minimum environmental impact...

so this works for any body... but my perspective changed... infact my perspective realigned with my inner conscious bringing that out to the surface when I ran into a book called "Natural Capitalism". Amory Lovins... man he is a genius...

Now my old definition of sustainable design might still stay valid in some respects... but it does not satisfy my inner self...

On a search I framed this....

Sustainability is something (which I am yet to find) that goes beyond the triple bottom line - POEPLE, PLANET, PROFIT

Lets take a deeper look...

Triple bottom line... what does that mean to an architect?

An architectural design needs to address how it enriches the quality of use of the designed space - it should talk to the PEOPLE who are using that space - do the people feel comfortable? invigorated? Relaxed??? or scared??

Also an architectural design should consider its impacts on mother earth - in analyzing the need for a new space (that's the most sustainable thing you could do - don't build anything new that's not needed); in choosing the materials and products - hence being kind to the PLANET...

And last but not least... architectural business is no pro bono... as much an architect dreams to create the next great wonder... he needs to make sure he can wake up after almost close to an all-nighter and be able to afford to stay in his house... so PROFIT.... but profitability is not just for the self - an architect should involve in how profitable his design could be for all the players in the team... it seldom happens.. but something to consider in future..

So is that it? If an architect listens to the clients' needs and designs a space that makes them happy, is good for the planet and profitable for everybody involved... is that it????

I just can't settle for that...

That's why I think sustainability goes beyond the triple bottom line...

Will explore and share more later..

1 comment:

Maryam Eskandari, Assoc. AIA said...

You are absolutely right. It means more than those three. I cant wait to see what your conclusion was for the Seattle trip.