Big and Green: Sustainable Skyscrapers for the Twenty-First Century Hardcover – Jan 13 2003
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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