Monday, 20 May 2024

Green and gracious living

GREEN HOMES: NEW IDEAS FOR SUSTAINABLE LIVING, Sergi Costa Duran, Collins Design, 192 pages. $35.


If you're wedded to conventional architectural design from other times you're not likely to see the beauty of these buildings. Might as well stop reading right now.


Lance Hosey, an international specialist in green building who wrote the introduction, is a columnist for Architect magazine. In April, 2007, he wrote “Sustainability need not hamper innovation — in fact, it requires it — but green architects have focused their ingenuity almost exclusively on materials and methods. As a result, the work is not always easy on the eyes. The ugly truth about green building is that much of it is ugly.”


You won't find ugly in this collection of designs from Europe to Australia (several in California). You'll find space and light, consideration of the landscape and a great deal of practical information on building green and sustainable.


Author Sergi Costa Duran lives in Barcelona and studied agricultural engineering with an emphasis on environmental preservation at Spain's University of Lleida. That seems worth noting for a couple of reasons; Spain's very long coastline and desert interior give it some serious environmental vulnerability. And, since the end of the Franco regime, the long-repressed country has been fairly bursting with innovation in the arts.


Green Homes presents some fascinating innovations in sustainable architecture and fresh design. For instance, Seatrain House, in a Los Angeles community of 300 lofts incorporating shipping containers, with grain trailers used as a small pond and a lap pool.


The book features 35 projects, including houses, apartments, offices, sports facilities, and factories. It explores various aspects of green design, from its ecological and economical benefits, to factors considered when choosing materials: how much energy went into manufacturing the product, whether it is long lasting, and whether it can be recycled or safely disposed of as it breaks down over time. Specific topics covered include climate regulation, drainage systems, and regional planning. Each project contains photographs, floor plans and detailed drawings that illustrate certain sustainable features, revealing how much the parameters of ecological design have expanded in recent years.


E-mail Sophie Annan Jensen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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