e2 design II — Greening the Federal Government podcast


Welcome to the weekly video podcast for the new PBS series E-squared. This exclusive online program will take you beyond the episode you just watched and deeper into the world of sustainable design I mean there’s the famous saying that there is good architecture comes from architects, great architecture has to come from a client. It’s true, there’s absolutely no way of proceeding with an important piece of architecture without the engagement of a client and their complete commitment to the values, interests, preoccupations, that are behind that project. The San Francisco building is a beautiful example of that because it’s a huge engagement with a client that believed we could produce something that was quite different from the generic expectation from what looks like a very simple problem. I think to be conservative is the riskiest strategy you can take in many cases today, because to be conservative is to -if you take it literally “to conserve”, to maintain a similar attitude towards a problem, is probably the biggest risk you can take. The world changes to fast, if you go back to who we are as a culture and that we have to rely on our intelligence, intellectually and creatively, and it’s that change, it’s literally our survival which is nothing but adaptation. Now you’re just building, again a more efficient automobile, or more efficient airplane, or where you want to go, if you can’t do that you don’t survive, you’re out of business. it’s like our auto-industry, won’t be around if they can’t -if they actually can’t find design objectives that allow them to be globally competitive. When I was at a conference, 2 years ago, and I don’t remember his name but it was the head of design at Chevrolet, and his talk was how the automobile -and he showed historical slides of automobiles and airplanes, in this case, and he was discussing how the automobile had reached the end of its development. And it was all about style now and nowhere to go, and I was just completely astounded. The automobile is in the exact place in history where it’s being completely reinvented. It’s obsolete. A lot of people would say he was taking a very conservative, meaning it’s a good thing. Hold tight. Today it’s the most dangerous strategy you can have. We’re going to completely reinvent an automobile. You won’t be able to recognize it in 10 years and the first thing it’s going to do is quadruple the mileage. My wife has a Honda, hybrid. When I’m driving it I stop at a stop sign and the engine goes off and I reach and put the key in, and it doesn’t go on and I’m always like: “What happened to the car?” and then you go: “Oh, it stops.” Then I don’t drive it for awhile and I do it again and I forget again and you go: “Ok.” You have to really re-think how you drive an automobile. Something as simple as that. When you drive this car, they challenge you to do that. Why do you do that? Because they know that 15 or 20 percent of your whole gas intake is when you’re stopped. And so finally you go: “That’s smart”. Somebody sat around a table and figured it out, told their design guys: “Figure out how to make this work”. Produce a product, and right there we’re able to get X amount of miles per gallon, and same with buildings. I think the work we’re producing now, the work that we produce in the future will absolutely demand because it’s preforming at a much more specific level. It’s going to affect the culture of the workplace in terms of the inhabitant, where they’re going to have to re-learn how to operate within a man-made environment. They’re going to whine about it, of course. It’s the nature of the human being. But I think what will happen is that they have to be put in tune with the greater aspirations of the project. So finally they come to grips with it as they understand it. 20 years from now, it will be a part of history. For more information about E-squared, visit our website at pbs.org. Thank you for watching. I’m Carl Bass we’re proud to sponsor this weekly podcast for E-squared design.

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