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Message - how sustainable is sustainable?

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Posted by  ash on December 01, 2002 at 03:53:05:

hi,
in india we have a lot of traditional/ vernacular building materials and techniques of building which are in use even today. either that or they are being vigourously revived.
sustainability has, i feel, two facets to it : one is thru'the very materials and techniques that one uses; the other is thru' the construction system/ planning.
one would think that having such diverse knowledge wuold enhance the level of archoitecture in india.....but more often than not such is not the case.
there is two distinct groups of architects: one modeled on the corbusierian philosophy. whether this philosophy is really incorporated or reflected into the building or not i dont know...but these ppl consistently come up with huge concrete monstrosities....anybody hu lives in a tropical environment will know that it is absolutely impossible to live in these bldgs. without spending a lot of time money and effort in the air- cooling.
then there are those hu's idea is more closer to those of frank lloyd wright.
there are some architects hu've branded themselves as followers of 'sustainable architecture'. their justification ---they use only brick/ stone/ local materials in building.
but sometimes i really wonder how sustainable is this approach
what most people dont know is that for making bricks the top layer consisting of the finest and the most fertile soil is used....and that the brick kilns probably give out as much smoke as do the cement factories....i ahvent even spoken of the wastages!
using stone has other effects....quarrying can and has dramatically altered the face of mountains...and certainly if we were to go on quarrying without control....it wud have an effect on the macro- climate,local topography and watershed effect.

and lastly we come to the 'sustainability thru' planning or construction technique'....a lot of architects use large glazed areas..or aluminium/steel sheeting as cladding...maybe it makes sense in the temperate climes.its more important here to absorb as much heat as possible. but its use in india and the gulf countries is usually justifyied only by the statement that enough inisulation has been used
ofcourse this may be a workable answer
but there is something called the intrinsic energy value of evry material ...and its very high for most metals....
so essentially even if these materials have been used in the most climatically feasible way..the energy value of the building is still very high...

at the end of it all i'm left wondering....why is that whatever we humans create, fraught with such ecological problems....probably has somwthing to do with our penchant for building 'immortal' stuctures
after this i have only one question...shud we build such that one heavy rains and its all washed away....or is that also not the answer?

 
 
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