Quote of the Day: Edward Hollis On Buildings "Built to Change"

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Lloyd Alter
Edward Hollis is the author of The Secret Lives of Buildings; He writes in the Guardian about saving and fixing buildings in the context of our environmental crises:

We face very serious decisions about our environment, and it's tempting to propose the sweeping away of the architecture of the present in favour of some future Accordia or Arcadia; but buildings form a significant part of our carbon footprint. To demolish them all, just to build them all over again, could only pollute the planet and deplete its resources further.

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This is not to argue that the built environment is fine just the way it is. The world has changed, and buildings will have to change too - perhaps in ways that would horrify the people who built them. The history of architecture - or at least the history of buildings, which spend centuries leading eventful, extraordinary and above all unpredictable lives - can teach us that buildings passed like folk tales from generation to generation, and grow richer and richer with each retelling. Holyrood was a palace once, built among the ruins of an abbey named for the holy cross that appeared between the antlers of miraculous stag.

Bertolt Brecht put it best: "anyone can be creative," he wrote. "It's rewriting other people that's a challenge." It is not building new ones, but rebuilding other people's buildings that is, perhaps the most urgent and difficult challenge that faces the architects of the future.

Tags: Architects | Ban Demolition | Reusability

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