Download Building for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection PDF

TitleBuilding for Life: Designing and Understanding the Human-Nature Connection
PublisherIsland Press
ISBN 139781559637213
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size6.6 MB
Total Pages262
Table of Contents
                            About Island Press
Copyrights Page
Title Page
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
Ch. 1: Introduction
Ch. 2: Science and Theory of Connecting Human and Natural Systems
Ch. 3: Nature and Childhood Development
Ch. 4: Harmonizing the Natural and Human Build Environments
Ch. 5: Biophilic Design
Ch. 6: Ethics of Sustainablilty
Narrative Epilogue
Notes
Illustration Credits
Index
Island Press Board of Directors
                        
Document Text Contents
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Contemporary transportation systems too often rely on highways to facilitate vehicular

movement. The modern highway system has often resulted in significant adverse ecological,

energy, and resource-related impacts. Unnecessary highway construction should be

discouraged—as well as greater reliance on mass transit and increased, easier pedestrian move-

ment. So-called smart growth and new urbanism strategies often complement restorative envi-

ronmental design strategies. (Additional landscape development suggestions are included in

the discussion of vernacular design in chapter five.)

Encouraging Low Environmental Impact Design

Before turning to the topic of positive environmental impact, or biophilic, design in chap-

ter five, several important efforts should be noted that have greatly fostered low environ-

mental impact design in recent years. These include the establishment of benchmarks and

performance standards for designing, constructing, and operating the built environment.

Important examples are the British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment

Method (BREEAM); a development primer produced by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI);

a guidebook to sustainable design developed by the architectural firm HOK; a sustainable

design guide produced by the state of Minnesota and other states; and—most significant—

the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

system.30 The RMI primer specifies design and construction criteria in such areas as site selec-

tion and development, transportation, building placement, land design, building configu-

ration and shell, energy use, water, ecology, operations, and construction specifications. The

Minnesota Sustainable Design Guide focuses on the six broad environmental impact categories

of site, water, energy, indoor environmental quality, materials, and waste.

LEED has, however, become the most widely adopted and influential system. Created

in the late 1990s, LEED is now employed extensively throughout the United States and

more and more internationally. Major LEED categories include sustainable sites, water,

energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and inno-

vation and design process. LEED’s appeal stems from its performance-based criteria result-

ing in numeric credits that at certain levels trigger LEED certification. Each LEED cate-

gory includes design and construction objectives whose accomplishment beyond

established standards generates LEED points. For example, in the sustainable sites cate-

gory, a maximum of fourteen points is possible related to such impact areas as site selec-

tion, urban redevelopment, brownfield redevelopment, alternative transportation, site dis-

turbance, stormwater management, landscape design, heat island effects, and light

Building for Life120

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pollution. Similar point awards are related to the other categories. Across all the crite-

ria, a total of twenty-six points results in LEED certification; thirty-three to thirty-eight

points, a silver designation; thirty-nine to fifty-one points, a gold rating; and fifty-two to

sixty-nine points, the highest, or platinum, award.

An example of how LEED can be an incentive for sustainable design that might not have

otherwise occurred is the previously cited Goldman Sachs project in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Initial interest in sustainable design was prompted by a concern of top executives about the

potential large-scale bird mortality associated with tall glass office towers. However, driven

by the goal of becoming LEED certified, the project collaborators expanded this wildlife con-

cern to include a broader range of sustainable design objectives. In addition to mitigating

bird impacts, the project’s sustainable design objectives included energy efficiency, mini-

mizing site disturbance, using recycled materials, reducing waste, improving indoor envi-

ronmental quality, promoting mass transit, and redeveloping the brownfield site. These objec-

tives were also emphasized within existing budget guidelines rather than being treated as an

additional cost.

Brownfield redevelopment illustrates the project’s low environmental design efforts. The

Jersey City, New Jersey, site beside the Hudson River had been an industrial area for more

than two centuries that was used to produce soap, cosmetics, chemicals, and machine parts.

Cleaning its contaminated soil required the removal and cleansing of enormous quantities of

mostly low level hazardous material. This soil was removed from a huge area—500 feet long,

325 feet wide, 45 feet deep—with much of it below the existing riverbed. The quantity of

material removed occupied northern New Jersey recycling facilities for six months and

required some three hundred thousand square yards of soil to be treated, recycled, stabilized,

or capped. Some of this material was recycled as asphalt for a nearby airport runway, com-

posted for a golf course’s fairways, or used to construct a wastewater pond.

The client and designers are justifiably proud of their sustainable design accomplishments.

Moreover, the client’s prominence could influence other large firms to make similar efforts.

Still, the project’s nearly exclusive emphasis on low environmental impact technology reflects

the biases and deficiencies of much sustainable design today. The Goldman Sachs project

illustrates the LEED system’s inordinate focus on low environmental impact design tech-

nologies and objectives. The Goldman Sachs project lacked such biophilic design consider-

ations as improved natural lighting, natural ventilation, use of natural materials, landscape

and riparian restoration, increased contact with nature, or an ecological and cultural con-

nection with the site. This last omission was particularly regrettable in the Goldman Sachs

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Index250

Vergely, Jacques, 125–26
Vernacular design, 5, 96, 126, 165–75; and

ecology of place, 166–68; and Frank Lloyd
Wright, 130, 133; and ING Bank complex
(Amsterdam), 136; and placelessness,
170–75, 172–73; in relation to culture and
ecology, 169–70; in relation to culture and
history, 168–69

Vicarious contact with nature, 10–11; in child-
hood, 65–66, 67, 68–69, 74, 85; and
organic design, 96, 128, 150–65, 151–56,
158, 160–63

Village Homes (Davis, Calif.), 26–29, 28
Visual access, 137–38

Waste decomposition, 47
Waste management, 114–16
Waste streams, 114, 116–17
Wastewater reuse, 105–6, 115, 116, 164
Water designs, 129, 138–40, 139
Weak genetic tendencies. See Inherent biological

tendencies
Weathering, 146–47
Weil, Simone, 59, 168
White, Randy, 83

Whitman, Walt, 72
Wildlife: and Bastille Viaduct (Paris, France),

127; as design element, 140, 142; as ecosys-
tem service, 48; and low environmental
impact design, 118–20, 121

William McDonough and Partners, 25, 26
Wilson, Edward O., 182–83
Wind energy, 110
Wines, James, 94
Winter gardens, 144, 144, 146
Wohlwill, Joachim, 11
Wooing the earth, 8
Wordsworth, William, 78
Work environment: and Audubon House (New

York City), 112; and Commerzbank office
tower (Frankfurt, Germany), 144, 144, 146;
and productivity, 22–25, 24, 26, 144, 146

World Conservation Union, 84
World Trade towers (New York City), 159, 162
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 96, 128, 130–33

Yale University, 146, 155, 156, 158

Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership, 98–100
Zoological parks, 86

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Victor M. Sher, Esq. (Chair)
Sher & Leff
San Francisco, CA

Dane A. Nichols (Vice-Chair)
Washington, DC

Carolyn Peachey (Secretary)
Campbell, Peachey & Associates
Washington, DC

Drummond Pike (Treasurer)
President
The Tides Foundation
San Francisco, CA

Robert E. Baensch
Director, Center for Publishing
New York University
New York, NY

David C. Cole
President
Aquaterra, Inc.
Washington, VA

Catherine M. Conover
Quercus LLC
Washington, DC

William H. Meadows
President
The Wilderness Society
Washington, DC

Merloyd Ludington
Merloyd Lawrence Inc.
Boston, MA

Henry Reath
Collectors Reprints
Princeton, NJ

Will Rogers
President
The Trust for Public Land
San Francisco, CA

Alexis G. Sant
Trustee and Treasurer
Summit Foundation
Washington, DC

Charles C. Savitt
President
Island Press
Washington, DC

Susan E. Sechler
Senior Advisor
The German Marshall Fund
Washington, DC

Peter R. Stein
General Partner
LTC Conservation Advisory Services
The Lyme Timber Company
Hanover, NH

Diana Wall, Ph.D.
Director and Professor
Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO

Wren Wirth
Washington, DC

Island Press Board of Directors

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