When we spotted William Leddy’s (the founding principal of Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects in San Francisco) thoughts on Getting Past Green for the Architect’s Newspaper, we completely connected with his words. A few months ago, when we shared Frank Gehry’s comments about LEED, we received an overwhelming number of responses about your opinions of the rating system. Leddy exclaimed, “Let’s get past our paler notions of “green design” and stop fussing over arcane LEED points to get to the real business of fully integrating radical resource- efficiency within our concepts of design excellence. Only then can we whole-heartedly focus the transformative power of design on the greatest challenge of our generation: helping to lead our society to a prosperous, carbon-neutral future. We can afford to do nothing less.”
More about the article after the break.
We know that global warming is a real threat to our world. We know that we have to change our ways and go green. And, we know, as architects, that we possess the creativity and the responsibility to implement greener strategies.
We shouldn’t be designing green because it is the new craze nor should we be counting points on a checklist to get an award. As a profession, we should be designing with environmentally sustainable ideas in mind constantly because the advantages of creating a healthy, eco-friendly building can outweigh our decades of detrimental and wasteful ways, in an attempt to preserve our world for the future.
As Leddy points out, there seems to be a schism in the architecture world between notions of good design and sustainable design. Why the division, why the separate awards and accolades? A project’s design potential should not suffer if it incorporates sustainable ideas, and designing a sustainable building is not an excuse to purely focus on new systems and materials. Architectural projects should be an integrated fusion of design excellence and sustainability, not just one or the other.
“We will need to get past our current conceptions of “green” design and fully integrate the pursuit of high-performance, net-zero energy building within our overarching concepts of design excellence. We will need to rethink our fundamental design aspirations—many of which are firmly rooted in the energy-rich oil age—and find new architectural languages that express and celebrate the pressing realities of a post-carbon world. But the first and perhaps biggest challenge is to convince every architect and every client that this effort is worthy of our collective, undivided attention, and not just a boring, trendy distraction as some still claim,” explained Leddy.