Saturday, October 23, 2010

Architects Who Design With Purpose

The new emerging generation of architects wants to do more than create beautiful architectural designs. It’s out to protect the environment and create designs that make great places to live, work, and play. The purpose of architecture is to shelter and enhance man's life on earth and to fulfill his belief in the nobility of his existence. Architects who design with purpose think of local climate, culture, and economic conditions before starting on to a new project. Green architecture is definetely the new 'mantra' of these designers. 

"Architecture to me is about this gracefulness of life, about loving the interplay of forms in graded light, the visual connections between spaces and the landscape variation that includes plant life, air, earth, and water as part of each building," says Aashish Karode, the Principal, Planning & Design Services at Design Atelier, New Delhi, India. He further states, "I believe that improved performance and sustainable practices in Architecture and Urban Design have a staggering impact on busineses as also the entire economy. In fact a 60% of the power consumed by the economy is accounted by the built environment".

Architecture to designers like Aashish Karode begins with the excitement of creating lively environments where the symbolism of the architectural artifact and the embedded landscape enliven the whole ensemble.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Goals of Green Architecture

The concept of Green Architecture can be traced to the energy crisis and the pollution concern in the 1970s. It may be assumed that the green building movement originated in the U.S. because of the need and desire for more energy efficient and environmentally friendly construction practices. Apart from the environmental reason, there are other motives to construct green buildings including economic and social benefits. The recent sustainability initiatives call for an integrated and synergistic design to both new construction and in the modification of an existing structure. This modern approach is called as sustainable design and integrates the building life-cycle with each green practice employed with a design-purpose to create a synergy amongst the practices used. On the other hand, the the aesthetic motive of green architecture is to design a building that is in harmony with the natural features and resources surrounding the site.

The practices and techniques in creating (or retrofitting of an existing structure) green building reduces and ultimately eliminate the impacts of new buildings on the health of human beings and the environment. The methods employed are using sunlight through passive solar, active solar, and photovoltaic techniques and creating green roofs using plants and trees. The provision of rain-harvesting in green building minimizes rainwater run-off.

The practice and technolgy may differ from location to location but there are certain fundamental principles that persist from which the method is derived. These are Siting and Structure Design Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Materials Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality Enhancement, Operations and Maintenance Optimization, and Waste and Toxics Reduction. Similarly there are few universal steps in designing sustainable buildings: specify 'green' building materials from local sources, reduce loads, optimize systems, and generate on-site renewable energy.

Green building or sustainable building is the practice of creating structures and using methods that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle. The common goal of green buildings is to design a structure that reduces the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the environment by efficiently using energy, water, and other resources; protecting health of the occupants and improving employee productivity; and reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation.

Many countries have already developed their own standards for green building or energy efficiency for buildings and others are busy evolving for themselves.