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Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century [Hardcover]

David Gissen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Feb. 1 2003
More than a century after its inception, the skyscraper has finally come of age. Though it has long been lampooned as a venal and inhospitable guzzler of resources, a revolutionary new school of skyscraper design has refashioned the idiom with buildings that are sensitive to their environments, benevolent to their occupants, and economically viable to build and maintain. Designed by some of the best-known architects in the world, these towers are as daring aesthetically as they are innovative environmentally. Big and Green is the first book to examine the sustainable skyscraper, its history, the technologies that make it possible, and its role in the future of urban development.The book examines more than 40 of the most important recent sustainable skyscrapers-including Fox & Fowle's Reuters Buildings in New York, Norman Foster's Commerzbank in Frankfurt, and MVRDV's spectacular Dutch Pavilion from Expo 2000 in Hanover-with project descriptions, photographs, and detailed drawings. Interviews with such leaders in the field as Sir Richard Rogers, William McDonough, and Kenneth Yeang are also included.

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Cities operate as unnatural ecosystems. Buildings breathe in and out. They consume and waste resources. They foul the air. Now more architects and engineers are working with greater regard for the environmental consequences of big buildings. "Green architecture" seems incongruous: creating artificial places that somehow connect us better to the natural world, so is it trendy tokenism or sincere citizenship? This book surveys the field and assesses the state of sustainable civic and corporate architecture. Sleekly designed and generally informative, it presents a variety of building types and evolving technologies that allow massive construction projects to step more lightly on the earth. These are office towers and mixed-use spaces from San Francisco to Shanghai to Seville that employ double-skin facades, advanced ventilation systems, natural light and energy, "graywater" recovery, skyscraper gardens, and rooftop habitats. Contextual essays link these trends to visionary traditions (Wright, Fuller, et al.) as well as to environmental and urban dynamics. The tone balances alarm, awareness, and even post-Enron moral philosophy. Steve Paul
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

David Gissen is associate curator at the National Building Museum. He has taught at the American University, Yale University, and the University of Virginia School of Architecture. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh air June 27 2003
Format:Hardcover
"Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century", by David Gissen, is published in conjunction with an exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. from January 17 to June 22, 2003. The book clearly shows that a group of architects has addressed the energy and environmental challenges facing many countries as they industrialize and enter the global marketplace. Their buildings indicate that a breath of fresh air has reinvigorated architectural practice to produce buildings that are climate-responsive, energy efficient, and occupant friendly while cleaning rainwater, reducing air pollucion, and enhancing the local environment as opposed to degrading it. The forms and shapes of these new buildings express these new functions in an authentic and genuine manner rather than look like relatively normal buildings with alien technologies applied to them. These buildings give hope that architecture can improve conditions for a sustainable society and not remain an energy and resource sink.
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Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not detailed...very general overview of various green buildings Sept. 4 2006
By mdr - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
book is small format. covers about 50 building/urban projects which utilize green energy. however, most analysis is only one page to 2 page including diagrams and photos, and without any detail summary. the author have divided the book in sections such as "air we breath, skyscraper garden, energy, construction, and etc". Despite a clear outline, he uses too many buildings with very little detail instead of just using 1 or 2 buildings in great detail for each topic.
unfortunately, this book is more of a guidebook of the latest green energy buildings with brief description.
I would not buy this book unless you find it at super bargain price (like $10-15). this should be 2 stars instead of 3 but I cannot change due to Amazon's editing function.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Information on the Surface Jan. 14 2006
By Yujine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The book was a bit dissapointing. I anticipated reading more indepth detail about the featured projects with diagrams/pictures of the major energy efficient application. Instead the information is only on the surface. It provides beautiful pictures of the building, with two page excerpts of each project (mainly pictures with a paragraph description), a list of the energy efficient applicatios and small floor plans and elevations, if any. A few projects feature the sustainable application methods, such as a diagram of natural ventilation. Overall, it's a good reference to start your research and find a sustainable building to research on, but the information is limited. It's also a good reference for lists of sustainable applications, definitions and essays. The projects are also divided up in five categories: Energy, Light & Air, Greenery Water & Waste, Construction and Urbanism. There are a lot of projects within each category that will spark your interest.
2.0 out of 5 stars A slick series of illustrations of sustainable design May 28 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Mostly a book about green image, this is a sleekly designed but superficial overview of allegedly sustainable buildings. The book ironically illustrates a few alarming points about green building, mainly that sustainability is a slippery term, and that its possible to decry sustainability as a marketing tool while being basically that at the same time.

The book illustrates a series of projects, devoting exactly two pages to each one. A short paragraph of verbal description, a listing of credits, then a series of vague and imprecise bullet points constitutes the projects' text, then the projects have one large commercial photograph and a couple of thumbnail photographs or diagrams. It's not much more than an announcement "this is a green building, take our word for it."

If indeed the exhibit organizers wanted to explore the thematic chapters (energy, light and air, greenery, construction, urbanism) they might have done better selecting fewer projects but show how those projects illustrated the theme. As it is, the string of projects does not coherently hold together.

Nina Rapaport's interviews, at the end of the book, suggest how depth might have been imparted to the book, these are interesting and far more illustrative of sustainable strategies than the brief case studies themselves.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh air June 27 2003
By Larry Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century", by David Gissen, is published in conjunction with an exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. from January 17 to June 22, 2003. The book clearly shows that a group of architects has addressed the energy and environmental challenges facing many countries as they industrialize and enter the global marketplace. Their buildings indicate that a breath of fresh air has reinvigorated architectural practice to produce buildings that are climate-responsive, energy efficient, and occupant friendly while cleaning rainwater, reducing air pollucion, and enhancing the local environment as opposed to degrading it. The forms and shapes of these new buildings express these new functions in an authentic and genuine manner rather than look like relatively normal buildings with alien technologies applied to them. These buildings give hope that architecture can improve conditions for a sustainable society and not remain an energy and resource sink.
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