Many architects, in Australia and are the world are questioning the importance of the green aesthetic. This has created quite a lot of industry discussion revolving around whether there should be a green building ‘look’ moving forward, and if mainstream assimilation is something that will become reliant on giving these highly sustainable and modern buildings more classic curb appeal.
According to architect Ken Yeang, green buildings do not always relate to ‘good’ architecture, but all good modern architecture should be green. They should – however – look green, differentiating themselves from the mainstream aesthetic.
“Our aesthetic is the green aesthetic. What should a green building look like? I don’t think it should look like a modernist building; it should be something new,” says Yeang. “I don’t think it should be pristine; it should be a bit fuzzy. The green aesthetic is something we are constantly exploring”
However – this issue with this ideal is that the mainstream public can be greenwashed by tactics such these, focusing solely on the aesthetic of a building to inform them if it is efficient, sustainable, has strong IEQ ect rather than truly understanding if its form is mimicked in it function.
Moving in the opposite direction is H-House in Salt Lake City Utah, in the US. From a street perspective there is no questioning the modernity of the residential dwelling, but it lacks the overt green building indicators that would suggest just how efficient and sustainable this development really is.
Designed by architectural firm Axis Architects, the designer home is surprisingly completely passive in its design. Working on a ‘from design’ sustainable basis, the architects made solar orientation and design a key focus in working towards overall efficiency of the space, taking the pressure of carbon emitting cooling systems.
This reliance off cooling has been achieved has further been achieved through the implementation of extensive glazing and solar shading devices.
The buildings itself nestles into the surrounding hillside, following the natural flow of the organic, over three levels. Due to this size element, the central staircase acts as a key ventilation means, with above rooftop skylights acting as a clever tool for natural infiltration through all levels of the home.
Renewable materials have been used throughout the build, such as bamboo, but have been installed in such a way that the overall aesthetic is one of crisp, clean, modernism, rather than the ‘fuzzier’ aesthetic of green buildings that Yeang explained earlier.
While it is generally an industry taboo to encourage uniformity or designs that aren’t particular out of the box, when it comes to green building, at present, allowing this sector to be easily transferred into the mainstream sector is going to be accomplished with far more ease by making developments such as these relatable and appealing to a wider range of consumers. From an industry perspective as well, it can be an intimidating feat to have master the look and feel of an entirely new sector, so taking the pressure of having to create buildings that not only function a certain way, but look a certain way should act as an industry incentive.