Jun 13, 2009, 11:09 PM
Mensaje #2 de 2
Book Review - The Ecology of Architecture
The Ecology of Architecture: A complete guide to creating the environmentally conscious building by Laura C. Zeiher, Watsun-Guptill Publications, New York, N.Y., 1996. Hardcover, 269pp.
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The ecology of architecture, by environmental writer Laura C. Zeiher, can be read as history, reference, and enlightenment to the field of green architecture. An experienced professional in the field of environmental design, Laura Zeiher writes a complete, yet concise explanation of how the field of environmental design originated, its definition, and resources for continuing its exploration. Unlike many books on this topic, this book goes on to discuss case studies from around the country, and supports these studies with the necessary laws associated with environmental legislation.
The book is divided into three sections. The first, "What’s Wrong With Our House", discusses the inefficient and unhealthy manner in which Americans build and inhabit their homes. Did you know, for example, that the average American home is filled with petrochemical products emitting volatile organic compounds, including latex paints and synthetic carpeting. Gas stoves, fireplaces, and boilers all release carbon monoxide, the most significant "greenhouse" gas and the leading contributor to global warming. In addition, fungi, molds, mildews, pollen, and other allergens collect on wall to wall carpeting.
"The elements of ecology and architecture" focuses on the natural elements of air, water, earth, and fire, and how these naturally pure elements are adversely affected by our current methods of extracting, harnessing, utilizing, disposing, and eventually depleting. This section continues to explain the theories and practice of Feng Shui, and what the author terms, "The third wave".
"The history of ecology in architecture" provides a detailed explanation of such early environmentally sensitive structures as the dwellings of Pueblo Bonito, and Native American tepees and igloos. This chapter goes on to discuss early international building technologies, and how they overcame many of the same problems facing us today, in an environmentally friendly manner. This section is concluded with recent technological advancements and projects in the field of environmental design.
The book continues by "Defining environmentally conscious architecture", with a very interesting series of interviews with such notable environmental practitioners as William McDonough, James Wines, and Susan Maxman. This chapter interestingly asks these professionals a series of similar questions, including, their definition of environmentally conscious architecture, while explaining their backgrounds, their views on the state of ecological architecture, and how some of their architectural projects stack up to their own goals. This chapter is supported by a wide range of informative and alluring graphics, representative of many of the interviewed professionals’ work. Many of these projects are discussed in detail by their authors.
The third chapter deals with "Renewable resource technologies", and how these technologies can help sustain an ever-depleting world. This chapter explains in detail how alternative energy technologies have evolved throughout history, and how these technologies will prove to be an ever-important resource for the future. In addition to the usual wind, water, and sun power, additional information is provided on lesser-known biomass energy, biogas production, and geothermal energy.
The fourth chapter, "The process: Creating ecologically conscious architecture", walks the homeowner, or professional through a project in a series of steps including organizing the design team, defining the project and its environmental objectives. It goes on to describe construction methods, and the economics of environmental design. Site selection, energy efficiency and design, appliances, and resource conservation are also discussed with appropriate graphics and case studies to support. The chapter is concluded with waste reduction ideas and maintenance suggestions.
"Case studies: buildings in North America" comprises the bulk of the book, highlighting eight projects throughout the United States. This chapter gives a very detailed overview of each project in an eight to ten page description. By comparing these projects using the guidelines described in the previous chapter, this chapter provides a wealth of valuable information in a familiar setting. The projects include institutional, industrial, commercial, and residential using both new construction and renovation work. Each project includes a project overview, working methods, environmental economics, resource conservation, materials and products
The chapter on environmental legislation deals with the development of environmental legislation, the protection of natural resources, management of toxic substances, and building energy efficiency standards. Each of these sections goes into detail about our opportunities and responsibilities as practitioners and supporters of environmental design.
If the purpose of this book is to educate and inspire, success should be noted. It is obvious that the author has a deep understanding of the subject, and has gone to extremes to include varying comparisons that are similar enough to compare, yet different enough to entice. It is our role as building professionals to absorb this information, test it in our own work, and pass it on to the rest of the building professions. Take this book as a necessary addition to your library, and conscious. Absorb it, and pass it on.
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Facilius Per. Partes in cognitionem totius adducimur. Seneca -Es mas fácil entender por partes que entenderlo todo-