Every year I ask my students at Ryerson University School of Interior Design to define the word "sustainable"- I keep hoping that some day, someone would give me a definition that really made sense. I'm still waiting. An example of the quandary is demonstrated in this lovely spiral stair designed by architect Tron Meyer. What makes it sustainable?
The design made it possible to replace steel and concrete with a more sustainable alternative, high quality wood....Sustainable values are withheld during the entire lifespan of the staircase, from the usage of local raw material
that master generations of use.
It is beautiful, and it is made from sustainably harvested wood, but it uses a lot of it. I'm not certain that replacing a steel stringer with three times as much wood as would normally be required is the definition of sustainability. But it certainly is elegant, and another great example of the things that can be done with cross-laminated timber. Now about the handrail....
More at Risa Meyer.