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Why do we make everything so complicated?

WislaHD

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Why do we make everything so complicated? We need radical simplicity right now.

I thought this was an interesting article to share with UT. The author criticizes the style and approach of Bjarke Ingles and others in some Toronto and Vancouver buildings for being inefficient in terms of energy consumption among other problems resulting from an overcomplicated design.
 

Northern Light

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I feel like this article goes one-step too far.

The examples given of good design are in many cases incredibly ugly and dull and they do merit an apology!

I greatly value efficiency as in productivity and ROI etc; I also greatly value environmental responsibility.

I can broadly agree that base building design for centuries, in most parts of the world, has been a box.

Still is today and will be tomorrow.

There is room for varying from that, but most attempts aren't that good. BIG does better than most at these, at least from an aesthetic perspective.

The real key though is how do you dress up the box?

Without getting all frou-frou, the value of a good cornice is completely under estimated by many in today's design/build community, addressing that, the material palette, playing a bit w/window shape doesn't need to drive costs up or result in lesser performance.

So yes, lets build responsibly from a green perspective and with an eye to reasonable maintenance requirements; but no, let's not abandon aesthetic requirements or get lazy.

I don't want boring buildings anymore than boring food.
 

jje1000

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Because society has become addicted to technological consumption and the belief that more = better.

Saving the environment has become more about gizmo-green (LEED! Windmills! Trees. On. Roofs!) than actual passive-green. The existing economic order is happy to accommodate the former, largely because it's progressive-looking, flashy, and results in more consumption while the underlying systems are unchanged.

So already complex regulations get more and more stuff layered on top of them, until our buildings are literally machines designed to compensate for poor passive design (i.e. heavy-duty HVAC because the entire facade is glazed).

And of course, when things go wrong, these machines prove to be incredibly delicate and in many cases, unrepairable. And another side effect are the increasing numbers of unexpected second and third-level effects that are the result of making things so complex (i.e. unrecyclability of the tech, destructive off-shored extraction for manufacturing, huge global supply chains, toxins in manufactured materials).


Instance: The Strata Tower in London, whose windmills have not produced a single watt of electricity since the building was completed. But it sure is green-looking!

 
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Calvin

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Because society has become addicted to technological consumption and the belief that more = better.

Saving the environment has become more about gizmo-green (LEED! Windmills! Trees. On. Roofs!) than actual passive-green. The existing economic order is happy to accommodate the former, largely because it's progressive-looking, flashy, and results in more consumption while the underlying systems are unchanged.

So already complex regulations get more and more stuff layered on top of them, until our buildings are literally machines designed to compensate for poor passive design (i.e. heavy-duty HVAC because the entire facade is glazed).

And of course, when things go wrong, these machines prove to be incredibly delicate and in many cases, unrepairable. And another side effect are the increasing numbers of unexpected second and third-level effects that are the result of making things so complex (i.e. unrecyclability of the tech, destructive off-shored extraction for manufacturing, huge global supply chains, toxins in manufactured materials).


Instance: The Strata Tower in London, whose windmills have not produced a single watt of electricity since the building was completed. But it sure is green-looking!

It looks like an electric razor from the 70s.
 

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