Supermarket as Hybrid SUV

Christopher Hawthorne, architectural critic for the Los Angeles Times, makes some interesting points about a monster Whole Foods that opened in Pasadena. He acknowledges that it is big and has lots of selection,

"But the store is even more striking for what it says about the similar discontents plaguing the organic food and green architecture movements. The way they come together in this Whole Foods--a piece of green architecture designed to hold an organic food emporium--suggests that both may need to adjust their priorities. Or at least start acknowledging that they've become victims of their own success."

It is designed by KTGY Group out of green materials like bamboo and fireclay tile, and they claim to "source materials that rapidly replenish themselves and do not contribute to biodiversity loss".... "We support growers of forest and other sustainable products that are responsibly managed."

And obviously the food is an experience, "It's Vegas with organic, gluten-free scones."

Hawthorne concludes:

"But the first rule of sustainable architecture is to keep new buildings as small and efficient as possible. With its soaring 30-foot ceilings and endless aisles, 280 subterranean parking spots and all those TVs flickering day and night, this place is neither. It's more like the grocery store version of a hybrid SUV made by Lexus or a 12,000-square-foot "green" house with a swimming pool and six-car garage accompanying its solar panels and sustainably harvested decking.

Forget about doing more with less. This green-tinged cornucopia is all about doing more with more. ::Los Angeles Times

Tags: Los Angeles

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