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Fred A Bernstein

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How Sustainable Is Apple Park's Tree-Covered Landscape, Really?

This article was originally published by The Architect's Newspaper as "How green are Apple’s carbon-sequestering trees really?"

Apple is planting a forest in Cupertino, California. When the company’s new headquarters is completed later this year, 8,000 trees, transplanted from nurseries around the state of California, will surround the donut-shaped building by Foster + Partners. The trees are meant to beautify Apple’s 176 acres (dubbed Apple Park). But they will also absorb atmospheric carbon.

That’s a good thing. Carbon, in greenhouse gases, is a major cause of global warming. Almost everything humans do, including breathing, releases carbon into the atmosphere. Plants, on the other hand, absorb carbon, turning it into foliage, branches, and roots—a process known as sequestration.

The Ongoing Battle to Preserve Midcentury Modernism

This article by Fred A Bernstein originally appeared in Metropolis Magazine as "Worth Preserving". Bernstein tracks the preservation battles fought, won and lost in 2013, unearths their root cause (money), and questions: was preservation better off in recession?

“It’s the old adage: location, location, location,” says Linda Dishman, executive director of the Los Angeles Conservancy. Dishman isn’t talking real estate, but historic preservation. In California, a midcentury house on a modest lot may find a buyer willing to maintain it. But the same modernist house on a large lot in Brentwood or Pacific Palisades, is practically wearing a “tear me down” sign. (How does a 1,200-square-foot house stand a chance in a neighborhood where 12,000 is the new normal?) “Small houses on large lots are the greatest concern,” says Dishman.

The Conservancy won a victory this year when ten of the surviving Case Study Houses—including the celebrated Stahl House by Pierre Koenig—were added to the National Register of Historic Places. But listing doesn’t stop the houses from being demolished—it simply triggers additional reviews before bad things can happen to good buildings, the kind of red tape that doesn’t always deter the super-rich. Money, especially big money, can be the enemy of preservation.

Read on about preservation's fight with big money after the break.

Saarinen's Bell Labs. Image © Rob Dobi Orange County Government Center, by Paul Rudolph. Image Courtesy of MIT Libraries, Rotch Visual Collections; Photograph by G.E. Kidder Smith. The lobby of Bell Labs in Holmdel, New Jersey, is part of a five-story, quarter-mile-long atrium. Most of the original built-ins, by Eero Saarinen, are in remarkably good shape.. Image © Rob Dobi The oft-photographed house (this shot was taken by the legendary Julius Shulman) is one of ten Case Study Houses just added to the National Register of Historic Places after a decade-long effort by the Los Angeles Conservancy. The house is open for tours. Image Courtesy of J. Paul Getty Trust/Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Research Library at the Getty Research Institute + 9