nature building


Buildings, in many ways, represent the opposite of nature. From a modest suburban house to the most majestic skyscraper, a building signals the presence of people in a place, differentiating human spaces from their surroundings. The built environment consists of organized, inert structures that contrast with the wildness, vitality, and constant change of the natural world. Buildings clash with nature in another sense, too — constructing and occupying them takes a substantial toll on the environment. In the United States, the construction industry is responsible for much of the waste that ends up in landfills. The use of buildings — consider the lights, the elevators, the air conditioning — accounts for a healthy fraction of the country’s electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. In recent years, lower impact “green buildings” have crept up in popularity. But a new movement believes that these measures have not gone nearly far enough — that even today’s ecoconscious apartments and offices produce waste and greenhouse gases, while merely scaling back the damage. What we need to do, according to the architects and scientists driving this movement, is fundamentally rethink the concept of a building.

more from Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow at the Boston Globe here.