How much does your household weigh?

New Article:  Places.DesignObserver.com “How much does your house weigh?” This was the question Buckminster Fuller used to ask when marketing his prefabricated, lightweight Dymaxion house in the 1920s. [1] The same question should be asked about today’s buildings — for environmental reasons, since each additional pound of material requires more energy and resources to manufacture, […] more…
Malcolm Wells, 1926-2009

Malcolm Wells, 1926-2009

Malcolm Wells, the original prophet of underground or earth-sheltered architecture, died on November 27, 2009. I still remember reading about his architectural office in Cherry Hill in the early 1970s, a startlingly light filled room beneath a meadow that restored the suburban site to its natural condition. That ethic became the basis of his gentle […] more…

Master Environmental Building Design (MEBD)

In November, the Department of Architecture announced the offering of an advanced, one-year Master in Environmental Building Design (MEBD) for architects seeking new skills and competitive advantage in the growing field of sustainable design. With the renewed urgency of environmental issues-from global climate change to resource shortages and “net-zero” design-architects are faced with demands for […] more…

Penn Adopts Climate Action Plan

In September, 2009, President Amy Gutmann formally announced the adoption of the Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Plan lays out the strategies that will be adopted by the University of Pennsylvania to achieve the ACUPCC goals, as well as the means to track and communicate progress to the Penn community and external audiences. The […] more…

Integrative Thinking About Life Cycle Analysis: Promises & Limitations

Integrative Thinking About Life Cycle Analysis:  Promises & Limitations March 27 & 28, 2009 Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) Penn/Wharton Second Annual Conference-Workshop Registration Info: environment@wharton.upenn.edu Keynote Talk: W. Braham, University of Pennsylvania, Sustainability and Carbon Action Planning, Life Cycle Methods more…

PEG Green Week: Ecology of Architecture

Penn Environmental Group (PEG): Green Week Symposium: Ecology of Architecture January 27, 6-7:30 Presentations-Panelists: William Braham, Penn Architecture Muscoe Martin, M2-Architecture Scott Kelly, ReVision Architecture Tim McDonald, OnionFlats Architecture I gave a brief presentation on the problem of style and definitions. Ecological architecture is not a particular style or technique, but a way of looking […] more…

Seeking Sustainability: Penn confronts the local and global challenge

Seeking Sustainability: Penn confronts the local and global challenge A Conversation with Scholars from Across the University Moderator: Amy Gutmann, President PANELISTS: Gary Bernstein, Physics & Astronomy Eugenie L. Birch, City and Regional Planning William W. Braham, Architecture Robert Giegengack, Earth & Environmental Science Eric W. Orts, Legal Studies and Business Ethics & Management Friday, […] more…

Is Sustainable Design Avant-Garde?

Is sustainable design, or ecological architecture more specifically, a kind of avant-garde? I don’t mean to ask if it is fashionable, which it certainly is, but whether sustainable design is understood only in terms of new advances or breakthroughs, according to the military metaphor that has come to define the arts more generally? What I […] more…

Proportions of Climate Neutrality

Response to article in Wall Street Journal, 12/30/2008, “Green Goal of ‘Carbon Neutrality’ Hits Limit.” I have appreciated the recent series of articles by Jeffrey Ball questioning the claims of companies like Dell and Apple about the pursuit of climate neutrality, or “greenness” more generally, but think they miss some basic issues. Climate neutrality is, […] more…

points to an ecology of architecture

An summary of the items explored in this blog and the outline of a possible book. organized in descending scales. Scale. Everything is connected to everything else, but not equally (Simon). Systems (or communities or populations…) divide into parts and sub-systems at many different scales, with their own distinct forms or behaviors. Herbert Simon argues […] more…
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