ThisTED talk by Dan Philips is fantastic. In it he discusses why consumers, the building industry, and society at large need to break out of the comfortable patterns that lead to massive waste, and how he makes use of that waste to create unusual, and highly personal buildings that defy convention.
Having pretty much grown up in an architectural practice, I know that generally speaking, architects are horrified, or at least mystified by the things I build. Convention is so deeply ingrained in the industry that even those that I know in the industry that would class themselves as ‘green’, have trouble dealing with the concept of having available materials dictate a build rather than have the designer. Of course I am not saying that a design is unnecessary – quite the opposite – but designing with materials that are reclaimed, or found only around the site necessitates a flexibility in not only design, but also in execution, that isn’t found in a ‘normal’ building design.
This attitude is embedded in the entire industry, reinforced by rigidly interpreted building regulations, standards such as BREEM, and backed up by the likes of the ironically titled ‘Green Guide’. To work outside of these conventions is difficult, to say the least, and some of the most interesting low impact design and build is happening in spite of them, not because of them.


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