HOK's Bill Valentine on Using Less Stuff

We covered Cameron Sinclair's appearance at HOK Canada's tenth anniversary event earlier; the next night I heard HOK chairman Bill Valentine speak. As head of such a big, corporate firm, I did not expect much, thinking it a courtesy to the chairman before the panel discussion; in fact is was the highlight of the evening. His major message was that we should be more efficient; he told John Bentley Mays in an interview: :"I'm really interested in using less stuff - less drywall, less steel, less concrete," Mr. Valentine said. "We waste [materials] like there was an endless supply of everything." In his speech he noted with a slide "Do the Math"-

Amount of steel in a six storey office building: 12lbs/SF x 200 sf/person=2,400 lbs/person.
amount of steel in a 70 storey office building: 35 lbs/SF x 275 sf/person=9,625 lbs/person

Lesson: our preoccupation with tall and sexy towers is inefficient and wasteful.


He concluded with "Where do we Start?"
-fix suburbia; encourage infill.
-Use smaller cars and push transit.
-Emphasize quality, not quantity.
-Ask clients whether they must build new.
-Use less land, materials, roads.

Emulate nature, which doesn't waste.

Words that every architect and planner should live by. Read also John Bentley Mays in the ::Globe and Mail

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