The Architecture Lover's Manifesto

robarts library toronto

Robarts Library, University of Toronto. Image credit Roens, Creative Commons

TreeHugger readers have heard Carl Elefante's rallying cry "The greenest building is the one already standing" many times; now architectural writer Dave LeBlanc presents the Architecture Lover's Manifesto that reinforces the point. Some of it is a bit Toronto-centric, but most points are relevant anywhere. Dave writes:

Have some respect for your personal architecture because it benefits all of us. Below are a dozen things to consider. Clip and save, and pass these along if they resonate with you:

1. In this age of soaring energy prices, I will ask myself if I really need 4,000 square feet and more bathrooms than people in my home. No matter how green I buy or build, 2,000 square feet will always be more efficient than 4,000. If I falter, I will repeat this quietly to myself: "I didn't have an entire basement playroom when I was a kid or my very own bathroom, and I turned out fine."

2. I will consider buying an older home over a new one. Older homes are usually in established neighbourhoods; this means I can walk to do some errands, just like my grandparents did. Even if I must replace a furnace, a roof or windows, or even take down a wall, I am still celebrating the fact that the greenest building is the one that already exists.

3. Before I demolish, I will Google "embodied energy."

Number 11 is important in an era where the brutalist style of architecture is so out of favour.

11. While I may think the University of Toronto's Robarts Library [photo above] is ugly, I will endeavour to understand why other people like it. I will remind myself that there was a time when E.J. Lennox's Old City Hall was considered ugly and expendable too.

More at the Globe and Mail
More brutalist buildings under threat:
Why Are So Many Paul Rudolph Buildings Being Torn Down?
Big Steps in Building: Ban Demolition

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