When you show up at GreenBuild you are overwhelmed by the new, the high-tech, the inevitable "LEEDING the way" slogans, and you see and hear very little about the old and the existing; it isn't shiny. There are a few voices out there in the wilderness that have something to say about old buildings, ignored in this milieu like Richard Moe was last year. Another ignored voice is Steve Mouzon, who designs new buildings that work by learning from the best of old buildings, and writes about them in books and online. I caught up with him at GreenBuild.
Steve writes at the Original Green:
This notion that we can simply invent more efficient mechanisms, and throw in some bamboo to boot, is only a small part of real sustainability. First, we must build sustainable places, because it does not matter what the carbon footprint of a building is if you have to drive everywhere in order to live there. The four foundations of sustainable places are Nourishability, Accessibility, Serviceability, and Securability. Only after the place has been made sustainable does it make sense to discuss sustainable buildings. The first of the four foundations of sustainable buildings is Lovability, because it does not matter how efficiently the building performs if it is demolished and carted off to the landfill in a generation or two because it cannot be loved.
I interviewed him about his insights into the effectiveness of old buildings as models for the future.