Search results for "sustainability"

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Who Builds Your Architecture? Panel Considers the Sustainability of Labor
The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School has—under its director Carin Kuoni—been an instigator in drawings links between artistic and design practices and the real world of politics. The Center sponsors symposia, lectures, and exhibitions that draw links that are often crucial and obvious but not discussed by professionals and academics in the design professions. Once again it is highlighting such an issue with a series of discussions, Who Builds Your Architecture?, that connects construction and labor. This project emerged in part from two ongoing initiatives: Who's Building the Global U? by NYU faculty and students and Who's Building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi? by a coalition of international scholars and curators. The second discussion in the series, WBYA 2.0, was titled Sustainability and Sustaining Human Life took place at The New School on Monday April 12 and featured an engaged panel that included: Phil Bernstein from Autodesk; Yale professor and dean Peggy Deamer; Ed Mayer, Senior Associate at FXFOWLE; Reinhold Martin, Columbia Associate Professor of Architecture; Walid Raad, Cooper Union Artist and Associate Professor; Brad Samuels, Pounding Partner at Situ Studio; William Sharples from SHoP Architects; Raphael Sperry, President, Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility; Columbia Planner Smita Srinivas; and Nisha Varia, a Senior Researcher at Human Rights Watch. The designers in the group tried to make connections between their work and that of those that build what comes off their drawings boards. Sharples, for example, showed images of his firm's new technology campus in Africa and described how the design is driven by a desire to have it manufactured and built by local African labor rather than by foreign contractors and builders. Whatever the reality of this project ends up being it did compel panelist Reinhold Martin to ask architects and designers to enlarge their notion of sustainability to include issues like labor rather than just focussing on technology and material issues as is most often the case in this country. Peggy Deamer who was one of the first architects to raise the issue of labor and architecture in writings like Practicing Practice brought the issue back home and pointed out that architects don't even think about labor practices in their own offices let along in far flung building sites in Africa and the Middle East. Architects, she pointed out, don't see themselves as laborers and this must change before they recognize the reality of actual design and construction. The event was organized by the Vera List Center in collaboration with Kadambari Baxi (Barnard+Columbia College, Architecture), Mabel O. Wilson (Columbia University GSAPP), curator and writer Beth Stryker, and Jordan Carver (Columbia University GSAPP) whose goal is to jumpstart a conversation that will lead to longer term solutions.
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Groundbreaking Pushes Bjarke Ingels’ Hedonistic Sustainability Into Spotlight
Against all odds, BIG-founder Bjarke Ingels is actually building a mountain-slash-ski-slope-slash-waste-to-energy-power-plant in his hometown of Copenhagen. Announced in 2011, the project nearly stalled during the approval process, but officials in the Danish capital broke ground on the facility on Monday. Called the Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant, the structure represents Ingels' concept of Hedonistic Sustainability, the notion that a sustainable building shouldn't only be green, but should also be fun. And the Amager Bakke design certainly will be a tourist draw to Copenhagen's industrial waterfront, inviting visitors to ascend to the top of the facility via elevators and ski down its sloping rooftop year round. Several slopes to accommodate varying skill levels are included on the roof where a synthetic material serves as snow. Evergreen trees at the periphery of the slopes complete the Alpine scene. The facade is imagined as a checkerboard modular planters resembling oversized bricks with windows with facing an interior atrium in between. A slender chimney at the building's peak, updated from the original design, releases smoke rings periodically, indicating when one ton of CO2 has been released into the atmosphere. In 2011, the price of the incinerator was estimated at $645 million.
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The World’s Best Tall Buildings Combine Curves and Sustainability
On June 13th the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) announced their choices for this years best tall buildings in the world. The CTBUH, an international not-for-profit association, picked four regional winners, including the Absolute Towers in Mississuaga, Canada for the Americas; 1 Blight Street, Sydney for Asia and Australia; Palzzo Lombardia, Milan, representing Europe; and Doha Tower, Doha, Qatar for the Middle East and Africa. These four buildings were recognized for making “an extraordinary contribution to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, and for achieving sustainably at the broadest level,” according to a statement from the CTBUH. Additionally, the Al Bahar tower in Abu Dhabi won the first ever Innovation Award for its high-tech computerized sunshade. Together, these projects represent a global renaissance in the development of tall buildings, highlighting innovations in high design, big engineering, and groundbreaking green technologies. According to CTBUH, a record number of buildings over 200 meters were completed last year, with 88 in 2011 compared to 32 in 2005. 2012 will prove to be the biggest year yet for tall buildings, with 96 set to be completed. CTBUH will name the “Best Tall Building Worldwide” at their Annual Awards Ceremony at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Crown Hall on October 18th. Absolute Towers – Missisuaga, Ontario, Canada Tower 1: 589 feet. Tower 2: 529 feet. MAD Architects of Beijing brought a new sensuality to this fast growing Toronto suburb with a pair of curving condominium towers. While contributing to a growing trend of high-profile sinuous skyscrapers, including New York by Gehry, Chicago’s Aqua Tower, and the Capital Gate by RMJM Dubai in Abu Dhabi, the two Absolute Towers go above and beyond their contemporaries as the entire buildings twist and turn to achieve their naturalistic forms. Dubbed the “Marilyn Monroe towers” by locals for their voluptuous designs, the two structures are wrapped in balconies around the entire facade. “The building is sculpture-like in its overall effect,” said lead architect Ma Yansong, “and its design expresses the universal language of audacity, sensuality, and romance.” 1 Bligh Street – Sydney, Australia 507 feet Designed by Ingenhoven Architects of Germany and Australian firm Architectus, One Bligh Street is the most sustainable office tower in Australia and the first Australian tower honored by the CTBUH. Located in Sydney’s central business district, the elliptical building contains Australia’s tallest naturally ventilated skylight atrium, which extends the entire height of the structure allowing sunlight to pour into the interior and adding a sense of openness throughout. Cementing its place as a sustainability leader, One Bligh features a basement sewage plant which recycles 90% of the building’s waste water, a double skin façade with automated external louvers that adjust according to the sun’s location, and uses hybrid gas and solar energy for temperature control. Palazzo Lombardia – Milan, Italy 529 feet In the first Italian tower honored by CTBUH, Pei Cobb Freed and Partners have combined sleek design, sustainable technology, and a variety of public spaces in this fashionable mixed-use government center fit for the style capital of Europe. Built as the seat for the regional government offices of the Lombardy region, the complex integrates a thin office tower flanked by  smaller 7- to 9-story curvilinear buildings that snake around its base. The shorter office “strands” house cultural, entertainment, and retail facilities and surround a series of interconnected public plazas and parks, the largest of which recalls Milan’s famous Galleria with its curved glass roof. The project makes use of its proximity to an underground river with geothermal heat pumps that cool and heat the buildings. Other ecological efforts include 7,000 square feet of green roofs, photovoltaic panels on the southern facade, and double-layer active climate walls containing rotating aluminum shading fins. Doha Tower – Doha, Qatar 780 feet Recalling his Torre Agbar in Barcelona, Jean Nouvel has constructed another interestingly-shaped tower, this time as an innovative and contextual landmark for the capital of Qatar. The Doha Tower is the first tall building to use reinforced concrete dia-grid columns in a cross shape, maximizing interior space by eliminating a central core. While its cylindrical, dome-topped shape is eye-catching enough, the tower really stands out for its complex, layered facade. Composed of a series of aluminum bris-soleils based on traditional Islamic geometric screens, or mashrabiyas, the building’s skin connects local vernacular designs to the extremely modern tower while providing shade for tenants and creating a rich exterior texture. Al Bahar Towers – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 475 feet This pair of towers by Aedas Architects has been honored with the first-ever Innovation Award for their modern and technologically advanced take on the mashrabiya. While traditionally made of wood latticework, the sunscreen of the Al Bahar is made up of over 1,000 computerized umbrellas composed of Teflon-coated fiberglass mesh panes on triangular steel and aluminum frames. Powered by photovoltaic cells on the buildings’ roofs, these shades open and close as they respond to the sun, providing 80% shading and reducing solar gain by over 50% without resorting to visually impeding tinting. The scale of this highly dynamic skin has never been achieved before, demonstrating new levels of innovation within a contextual aesthetic framework.
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What is Green, Anyway? Join Us for an Online Conversation on Sustainability
Join us for a live Facebook discussion, "What Is Green, Anyway?" Wednesday, April 18 12:00 p.m. PST, 3:00 p.m. EST You're invited to talk about sustainability with AN's West Coast Editor Sam Lubell, Angela Brooks, partner at Brooks + Scarpa, and John Stein, president of Kirei, a green materials company. The open discussion will cover what exactly makes a project green, how effective green standards are, how sustainability is driving design (and whether it should), and where green design is heading. The best part is that the questions will be all yours, answered live by our participants. To participate in "What Is Green, Anyway?," simply visit the AN Blog tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. eastern. We'll publish a post to the AN Blog before the event and you can join the discussion and ask questions of the experts live over Facebook Live Stream. You can even share your comments with your Facebook friends directly. See you Wednesday! Participants: Angela Brooks, principal, Brooks + Scarpa: A recognized leader in sustainable design and construction, Angela is responsible for overall project management and supervision of the firm’s designers and staff. She has served as Project Architect and consultant on buildings which range in scope from public and institutional projects, to mixed-use projects, single- and multifamily housing. John Stein, president, Kirei: After seeing a small sample of a new eco-friendly design material, John decided to take his experience in mainstream marketing to the green building world. His company, Kirei, grew out of that first chance encounter, and has become a leading provider of sustainable design materials to the architecture, design, and fabrication communities.
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2011 ASLA Professional Awards Showcase Innovation & Sustainability
Earlier this week, we checked in with the student winners of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) 2011 awards and found reason to be hopeful about the future of landscape architecture. But what legacy will those students be inheriting? The ASLA has recently doled out 37 awards to professional firms from across the globe, honoring their innovation, design, and sustainability.  The submissions (most of which have been built) range from the systematic redesign of streetscapes and historical residential gardens to large scale estuarine master plans. General Design Category Award of Excellence Portland Mall Revitalization Portland, OR ZGF Architects From the project statement:
The Portland Mall, a landscape architecture legacy project and icon for progressive urban planning and design, has been transformed into a Great Street. Today it extends the entire length of downtown Portland, mixes multiple modes of transportation, stimulates adjacent development and re-establishes itself as Portland’s civic spine. A new benchmark in design, placemaking and infrastructure for the 21st century – the Portland Mall represents the region’s commitment to civic space, vital urban centers and sustainable transportation.
Honor Awards City of Greensburg Main Street Streetscape Greensburg, KS BNIM From the project statement:
The City of Greensburg developed a downtown environment that not only provides a unique environment for residents and visitors, but that also provides creative features that capture and recycle stormwater. This project is a part of an overall sustainable environment that was planned for the downtown business district. All components from planting and irrigation to seating, signage and materials are highly sustainable.
Citygarden St. Louis, MO Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects From the project statement:
Citygarden is a three-acre public sculpture garden created on the Gateway Mall in downtown St. Louis. Sponsored by a private foundation, the garden has played a primary role in reinvigorating the city’s center.  The design weaves innovative stormwater management strategies with abstractions of local geology, hydrology, and plant communities to create a multi-faceted public space that has become a magnet for locals and tourists alike.
Residential Design Category Honor Award Beyond Pictorial: Revising Philip Johnson's Monumental Beck House Dallas, TX Reed Hilderbrand From the project statement:
Philip Johnson's monumental 1964 Beck House was conceived as a theatrical viewing platform for the surrounding landscape—a motive pursued more simply and elegantly in Johnson's own Glass House fifteen years earlier. The Beck House renovation, completed in 2009, critically revises this modernist paradigm. By deftly altering Johnson's conceptual break-line between building and landscape, the project demonstrates landscape architecture's capacity to integrate the conservation of the material legacy of a project with direct engagement of the visual, spatial, ecological, and domestic characteristics of the site.
Analysis and Planning Category Award of Excellence An Emerging Natural Paradise — Aogu Wetland Forest Park Master Plan Taiwan National Sun Yat-sen University From the project statement:
Aogu is a 1,600-hectare site located on the route of Asian migrating birds. The site has been reclaimed from the sea and unexpectedly reverted to a coastal wetland because of land subsiding and the cessation of farming in the area. The project focuses on establishing a series of re-habitation strategies on site that is reclaimed for human development, and emphasizes the site as a seeding process for the natural systems, as well as environmental education and eco-tourism.
Communications Category Award of Excellence LID Low Impact Development: A Design Manual for Urban Areas University of Arkansas Community Design Center From the project statement:
Low Impact Development: A Design Manual for Urban Areas is designed for those involved in urban property development, from homeowners, to institutions, developers, designers, cities, and regional authorities. The manual presents a graphic argument, illustrating the application of ecologically-based stormwater treatment technologies in urban contexts. The manual’s unique contribution is its advancement of LID from a set of suburban lot-based technologies to a distributed urban treatment network deployed at neighborhood, municipal, and regional scales.
Landmark Award in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation First San Diego River Improvement Project San Diego, CA Wimmer Yamada and Caughey From the project statement:
Great examples of landscape design often go unrecognized because the finished look is so natural it is unnoticed as "man made" by the observer. The first phase of the "First San Diego River Improvement Project" or "FISDRIP" is a good example. In place of a planned concrete channel as envisioned by the Army Corps of Engineers, the project was a successful collaboration by Public Agencies, Engineers, Biologists and Landscape Architects in designing a highly sustainable and functional flood control system that respected and preserved the natural habitat. Originally completed in the late 1980's, this project represents an excellent example of restorative design within an urban context, testimony to nature's ability to heal itself, survive within a busy transportation corridor and provide human connections to the natural environment.
All of the award winning entries can be viewed here.
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Sustainability Martyred in Name of Saint Green
Has the green movement gone too far? STAR Strategies + Architecture examines the prevalence of "green-washing and the abuse of sustainability" in their project O' Mighty Green, where they posit that the notion of "green" has taken on a life of its own outside of sustainability and has become on many levels a new sort of religion. As the architects said in their introduction:
Sustainability currently shares many qualities with God; supreme concept, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient; creator and judge, protector, and (…) saviour of the universe and the humanity. And, like God, it has millions of believers. Since we humans are relatively simpleminded and suspicious and need evidence before belief can become conviction, Green has come to represent sustainability; has become its incarnation in the human world. But sustainability, like God, might not have a form, nor a colour.
To demonstrate this absurdity, STAR has implemented what they call "sustainability as a photoshop filter" and clad a variety of iconic—and notorious—buildings with green walls, even invoking the spirit of St. Green, the patron saint of sustainable architects. The architects have taken a similarly snarky view of contradictions in preservation. (Via Dezeen.) What are your thoughts? Are architects guilty of praying at the green altar?
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Celebrating Sustainability at Chicago's Art Institute
On November 17, The Architect's Newspaper and Buro Happold, along with our other event partners Dow Building Solutions, Graphisoft, American Hydrotech, and Adaptive Building Initiative, celebrated GreenBuild at the Art Institute of Chicago's Modern Wing. Renzo Piano's LEED certified building proved to be a stylish venue for the hundreds of architects, engineers, designers, and other assorted revelers. Click through for pictures of some of the evening's hundreds of party-goers. It was quite the green scene!

NYC Snatches Sustainability Czar from PDX
There are few places better for the Bloomberg administration to look for a new head for the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainabilty than Portland, that utopia of urban green living. (To some, it borders on zealotry.) Today the administration announced that David Bragdon, the president of Metro, the City of Roses' land-use and management body, will be replacing the recently departed Rohit Aggarwala. He has his work cut out for him, as his predecessor was the chief architect of the city's lauded PlaNYC 2030 plan, though it appears the office is in capable hands. According to Willamette Week:
Bragdon’s leadership of the regional government will be remembered for the addition of substantial green spaces to the region, bringing fiscal sanity to Metro’s budget, somewhat frosty relations with the suburbs, and an ongoing wrestling match over the issue of whether to expand the urban growth boundary.
He's also a big advocate for alternative transportation, and The Oregonian says he may even be a contender for mayor in 2012. Of Portland, that is, not New York. (Unless of course things go especially well...) As for our mayor, he said the following in a release outlining his decision: "David is an exceptional addition to our team here as we continue to implement the initiatives in PlaNYC and work to update the plan and expand it to include solid waste." Wonder if that was in the job description?
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Autodesk Headquarters by KlingStubbins With Green Building Systems
Jeff Goldberg/ESTO


181 West Huntington Dr., Monrovia, CA;

Atelier Ten
45 East 20th St., New York;

Davis Langdon Adamson
370 Lexington Ave., New York;

201 East 42nd St., New York;

Genesys Energy
260 Fair St., Kingston, NY;

Global Green USA
25 West 52nd St., New York;

Green Building Systems
133 SW 2nd Ave.,
Portland, OR;

Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin
650 Woodlawn Rd. West, Guelph, Ontario, Canada;

Steven Winter Associates
307 7th Ave., New York;

Viridian Energy & Environmental
21 West 38th St., New York; 212-704-9920


2848 Frankford Ave., Philadelphia, PA;

Tecta America
5215 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL;

Atlantic Avenue Apartments by Dattner Architects with Steven Winter Associates
ARI Burling Photography

“The Perry Avenue Building at the Brooklyn Navy Yard was a pilot project for LEED core and shell construction. E4’s help was essential for moving the project through the LEED registration process. They handled the collection of the documentation and the submittal of the documentation to the USGBC. Pamela Lippe and her staff were very collaborative and good communicators—very enthusiastic and open-minded about exploring different options. When the decision was first made to register it as a LEED project, we got them on board right away because we knew of them from having worked on parallel projects.”
Joe Donovan

Steven Winter Associates was the sustainability consultant for the Atlantic Avenue Apartments. The company is actually retained directly by Habitat for Humanity, the client, and they participated in all stages, from the green charrette to strategizing how to make the building green by doing the energy modeling through the construction period. This project was submitted to the USGBC under LEED for Homes, aiming for LEED Gold. They administered the LEED for Homes application, and we worked very closely in strategizing what credits they would go after.”
Bill Stein
Dattner Architects

“At 11 Times Square, our Green team included the owner, Plaza Construction, Viridian—the LEED filing consultant—Cosentini Associates, and ourselves. We were aiming for LEED Gold certification, which for a speculative office building is a bit of a hurdle, but it’s been a good experience. Viridian contributed a lot of mind energy that helped in bird-dogging all of the various issues.”
Dan Kaplan
FXFowle Architects

Tecta has so much technical expertise. We were able to let them take the lead in certain areas. There was a lot of back and forth. They were deeply involved in both the design and the maintenance plan at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.”
Elizabeth Kennedy

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Sustainability Experts Descend On Downtown LA
There's hope for the greening of Downtown LA.... Last month the AIA’s Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT), a group of eight sustainability experts (including architects, landscape architects, urban designers, transportation planners, business development professionals, and workforce training experts) from across the country, presented their preliminary ideas for Downtown to the local community. The event came thanks to a grant awarded to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC) by the AIA’s Center for Community Design. The team recommended that the DLANC’s Sustainability Committee start or continue working on small scale interventions like tree plantings, community gardens, bike lanes, rerouting buses, its Harlem Place stormwater management/open space project, a sustainability website, Parking Day LA and other outreach events. It also proposed developing a vision that included a checklist of reminders that for all began with E (Empowerment, Equity, Environment, Economy, and Example). The SDAT team's final report is to be delivered to the Neighborhood Council in early February 2010. We’ll let you know what they come up with. --Gunnar Hand
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Senate Seeks Sustainability
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released its energy bill today. The main talking point is that the bill sponsored by Barbara Boxer and John Kerry takes a tougher stance on emission reductions than the House bill, shooting for 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, as opposed to 17 percent. But the bills share some comforting similarities, at least for architects. Just like the house bill, which we wrote about in July, the Boxer-Kerry bill includes important measures targeted at buildings, among them stricter building codes and retroactive efficiency standards for retrofitted buildings. Along with the bill passed by the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee in June, which called for other efficiency standards, Andrew Goldberg, the senior director for federal relations at the AIA, said the Senate stands to create strong, architecturally intensive standards Goldberg said one piece of the House bill that is missing is the GREEN Act, which encourages banks to offer better loans to sustainable projects. Because of the nature of the Senate, such provisions would actually have to be worked out in a separate committee, though Goldberg said he remains confident in the act's prospects. Another issue where the AIA is looking for improvement over the House bill is the allocation of funds generated by the sale of cap-and-trade credits. The Senate has yet to divvy up those credits—of which there could be more, in light of higher standards—but Goldberg is hoping for more than the 10 percent given over building related initiatives like training building operators and funding green public housing. "With the built environment accounting for 40 percent of greenhouse emissions in the country, we want to keep hammering home that buildings are the key to energy efficiency," Goldberg said. Which is not to say the AIA expects 40 percent of the cap-and-trade funds—improving the energy grid and using more renewable energy will go a long way toward addressing buildings' energy usage, though the feeling is buildings deserve more than they are getting in the House bill. Plus, building improvements not only mean greenhouse reductions but more of those vaunted green collar jobs.

Sachs on Sustainability
Jeffrey Sachs, the charismatic director of the Columbia University Earth Institute, gave a moving speech last night at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation on the environmental problems that are unique to our time. Sachs, free-market economist turned green evangelist and a special adviser to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, spoke on the objectives of the Institute: ending extreme poverty, maintaining the health of the ecosystem, promoting peace and shared prosperity, and advancing humanist aesthetics. Personally, it made me feel like we are at a point where each of our actions counts, especially in our role as architects, designers, and planners. Technology has allowed us to sew great damage, but it may also enable us to heal the planet. Much of Sachs’s talk dealt with what he calls “eco-tectonics,” that is the changing economic plates. The rise of Asia, or the “rise of the rest” as Fareed Zakaria calls it in The Post-American World, enabled by the new technological capacity of developing countries, is not only accelerating the human impact on the environment, but filling in power gaps. Using the current financial crisis as an example, Sachs explained how everything can go wrong in a world in which we don’t fully comprehend the interactions of the different mechanisms at play, were interconnectedness is playing a stronger role than ever, and chain reactions make local problems global. When he pointed out that the presidential campaign was focused on Middle Class voters, who were decisive to win the election, and poverty issues were hardly tackled, I couldn’t help but translate it to our profession: Architecture, like politics, is focused on those able to make the commissions, and not on those who really need of clever and groundbreaking ideas delivered on a low budget. In a profession that is crowded by battles of egos, and where formally adventurous buildings compete to stand out, there is a need for deeper thought and less aimless aesthetics. We are living in a time in which technology and communications make it possible for a designer in New York to extrude a nearly ready made skyscraper in the middle of Beijing, disregarding any possible impact that it may have not only to the immediate surroundings, but also on the environment. It is a time in which the architectural profession needs to re-examine how it applies global solutions to regional contexts, and in the same way be mindful about the local affecting the big picture. What does building green truly mean? Sustainability is not just about adding solar panels to old designs and using solvent-free paints. Truly green design requires understanding the intricate social, economical and political interactions as well as the physical conditions of our cities to prepare them for the overpopulation of the future. Even though we have learned from the disasters of tabula rasa projects of the 60s and 70s, it is not a matter of romanticizing existing conditions, which is often are unacceptable, but a question of sensitive political, cultural, and aesthetic action and interaction as an essential part of responsible practice.