The Rotterdam based design team STAR strategies + architecture has shared with us their recent project, O’ Mighty Green, a critical piece about Green – washing and especially about the abuse of “Green” in architecture. Additional images and text can be seen after the break.
Sustainability currently shares many qualities with God; supreme concept, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient; creator and judge, protector, and (…) savior of the universe and the humanity. And, like God, it has millions of believers. Humans are relatively simpleminded and suspicious and need evidence before belief can become conviction, Green has come to represent sustainability; has become its incarnation in the human world. But sustainability, like God, might not have a form, nor a color…
1. Emancipation In a desperate attempt to give shape to an all-encompassing ideology the Green proves to work as the quickest and easiest representation of sustainability. The Green is the only symbol able to keep pace with today’s lack of patience and hunger for images; a Lady Gaga-Sustainability: effective, noticeable, creative, sensationalist. In a persistent effort to become the allegory of Sustainability, Green has been emancipated as its caricature. 2. Function If the Iconic buildings simply needed to be iconic, the Green buildings simply need to be green. Green as a function. Green allows sustainability to be bought per m2, or to be painted on, or glued on. Sustainability is a Photoshop filter in CS6: Ctrl+Green.
3. Style Modernism, Postmodernism, Deconstructivism… We have now definitely entered Sustainabilism. Unlike in previous movements every architect can be a Sustainabilist: whether avant-garde, commercial, young, established… It can be even combined with other styles: Eco-Deconstructivism … Architectural magazines and commercial brochures found a common language: the Green. Green is also the point on which the architect, the client, the developer, the politician, and the user agree. For the first time ever we have a genuine International Style. - Green buildings can be Ducks or Decorated sheds, and there are some interesting cases of being both at the same time: the Decorated Ducks. - Green should be added as the sixth principle to Le Corbusier’s five points, and as the fourth quality to Vitruvius’ triad: Venustas, Utilitas, Firmitas and Sustinebilitas - The built … product of Sustainability is not sustainable architecture but Green. Green is what remains after Sustainability has run its course or, more precisely, what coagulates while Sustainability is in progress, its fallout… *Taken from Junkspace by R. Koolhaas - Green is the new Black.
4. Religion - Green works as faith. Saint Green will watch over the sustainable architects, and will guide them in the Green direction. - Green works as confession. The guiltier we feel, the greener we try. The green-looking is usually indirectly proportional to its sustainability achievements. Green has the capacity of reducing all that matters to one single problem, and one single solution: Green. - Green is double-miraculous. As if trying to heal cancer with aspirins, Green is the phenomenal formula that turns sustainable everything that it touches. It can also hide graceless designs. Ugly Green buildings are more readily accepted than ugly buildings. 5. Ambiguity But the Green also hides a perverse dimension… As in a David Lynch movie; everything appears to be calm and harmonious but there is something disturbing… rotting… The Green is the common lie, the secret consensus, the perfect crime; everybody knows that it cannot be that good, that it cannot be that easy, but why bother? It sells, and there is enough Green for everybody.