What is Green Architecture?
As energy costs rise, so does demand for environmentally friendly design for commercial, residential, and public buildings. In May 2001 journalist Lynn Neary met with three architects to talk about building green. This interview was recorded on National Public Radio station WAMU in Washington D.C.
Rick Harlan Schneider is a partner with istudio design. Sandy Mendler is vice-president with HOK and chair of the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment. Greg Mella is a project architect with SmithGroup.
Moderator Lynn Neary: What is green architecture? And how is it different from regular architecture?
Greg Mella: Green architecture recognizes that buildings play a role in the environment, and that we have a responsibility as architects to conserve resources. So green architecture tries to optimize the performance of a building, to conserve important resources like water, land, and energy.
Rick Harlan Schneider: Environmentally responsive architectural design has been around since the beginning of time. Designing homes that, for instance, take advantage of natural daylighting, or natural breezes for ventilation, that's been around ever since we've been putting one stone on top of another.
Sandy Mendler: But the broad focus we're seeing now on how the built environment impacts the natural environment is a recent development. For example, the AIA Committee on the Environment just started in 1992. And the U.S. Green Building Council started in 1993. So this is a very exciting time in our history.
Edificio Malecon, Buenos Aires, by HOK.
Photo: ARQ/ Daniela Mac Adden
The World Resources Institute, Washington, DC, by HOK.
Photo: Alan Karchmer
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