Nailing Green Architecture
I read somewhere that much, if not all, of the environmental gain from most green architecture is negated by the size of the homes that are the fruits of the profession. No matter what materials you use to build your 10,000-square-foot single-family retreat, it's never going to be sustainable. Of course, the supersize houses may be partly a function of the kinds of folks who can afford to build 'green'; namely, rich ones. And Shaw, to his credit, fully owns up to the fact: "We're only able to build this house," he writes, "because we hit the real-estate jackpot in Manhattan."
But does it have to be that way? Not necessarily. For proof that architecture can be humble, stylish and 'green' all at once, just consider the late Sambo Mockbee's Rural Studio in dirt-poor Hale County, Alabama. Mockbee and his Auburn students took it upon themselves to build efficiently and on-the-cheap without sacrificing aesthetics. The results should be an inspiration to anyone who thinks green architecture could and should go mainstream. I mean, just look at it: Who wouldn't want to live in the Butterfly House?