Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"There has to be joy in architecture."

Wow, do I ever love Thom Mayne. Even as an aging architectural iconoclast, he hasn't lost one bit of his punk-rock spirit. He may as well say, "F*uck all you filthy hippies" in this article about a talk he gave on sustainable building, but he does it so much better in his own way:

"It's completely hysterical that I and my firm would be representing this topic," Mayne said during a recent visit to San Francisco. "The green guys, their moralism and do-gooderness - phew. Horrible. There has to be joy in architecture."

Mayne sees himself - whether he'd put it this way or not - as the architectural equivalent of the BMW engineers he mentioned in his talk, perfectionists working toward a zero-emissions sports car. He's not interested in throwing out what he calls 'the culture of architecture, the culmination of 3,000 years' of artistic exploration, for dutiful environmentalism.

Pictured above is the LEED certified and aesthetically uncompromised (or is that 'uncompromising'?) San Francisco Federal Building.

It's great to see one of the most prolific creators of sustainable architecture rip apart the self-congratulatory, granola-munching, new-agey aesthetic being hocked as green design. Sustainable design is simply good design. It's responsible by instinct and doesn't need to constantly remind you how small its carbon footprint is.

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