The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design
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Does going green change the face of design or only its content? The first book to outline principles for the aesthetics of sustainable design, The Shape of Green argues that beauty is inherent to sustainability, for how things look and feel is as important as how they’re made.
In addition to examining what makes something attractive or emotionally pleasing, Hosey connects these questions with practical design challenges. Can the shape of a car make it more aerodynamic and more attractive at the same time? Could buildings be constructed of porous materials that simultaneously clean the air and soothe the skin? Can cities become verdant, productive landscapes instead of wastelands of concrete?
Drawing from a wealth of scientific research, Hosey demonstrates that form and image can enhance conservation, comfort, and community at every scale of design, from products to buildings to cities. Fully embracing the principles of ecology could revolutionize every aspect of design, in substance and in style. Aesthetic attraction isn’t a superficial concern — it’s an environmental imperative. Beauty could save the planet.
human being is part of the whole, called by us the universe. . . . He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison. —Albert Einstein Early in the final decade of the fifteenth century, an artist in his Milan workshop took out a notebook, inked his pen, and sketched the figure of a man with four arms and four legs. Half a millennium later, Leonardo da Vinci’s spidery drawing
Architect Michael Benedikt summarizes the basis for such aesthetics: “Architecture, which we usually take to begin in earnest some nine thousand years BC, represents no more than one five-hundredth of the time mammals have been extant. During this seminal period, the essential elements of advantage accorded by certain patterns—figures—of shelter construction and site selection were becoming a part of all living and surviving.” Among these significant patterns, Benedikt counts places of shelter
pressed together with mechanical jacks. The domes took shape naturally as their ends secured in place. Instant architecture. As architecture becomes more enmeshed with its place, it takes on subtler forms. The profile of the Hannover structures is not a semicircle but a catenary, the curve formed naturally by any flexible line shaped by its own weight—a vine in a jungle, moss on a branch. (The word itself means “chain.”) Structurally, a catenary, or funicular, is the optimal geometry for any
(pbk. : alk. paper) — ISBN 1-61091-032-X (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Sustainable design. 2. Sustainable architecture. 3. Green technology. 4. Aesthetics. 5. Sustainability. 6. Environmentalism. I. Title. NK1520 .H672012 745.2—dc23 2011049246 Printed using Minion Text design by Maureen Gately Typesetting by Sztrecska Publishing Printed on recycled, acid-free paper Manufactured in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Keywords: architectural design, biomimicry, biophilia, corporate
a subset of sustainability. Some speak of the triple bottom line as a trade-off between the three values, whereas others consider the values mutually supportive, the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Either way, I can think of nothing at all, certainly nothing of value, that doesn’t fall within one or more of these categories. Even the most intangible human and natural treasures are social or environmental in origin, so the triple bottom line must include even the emotional and the