>>I think a distinction needs to be drawn between aesthetic
>>conservatism, which is a matter of taste and therefore not proper
>>grounds for dismissal or distain, and engineering
>>conservatism, which is just plain good sense.
>Yes - although to be perfectly fair, in this case I will willingly
>hold up my hand to both. I have grave reservations about the
>engineering value of the building method in question and I
>think the results are a splinter in the eye of the world. :)
Well. I usually don't say this in so many words, but I -do- consider myself mostly conservative--libertarian, actually.
And that has almost nothing to do with why I think this architect is barking up the wrong tree.
Okay, yes, I happen to think climate change is a scam and this guy's reasons for doing this are hilarious. But disasters of all stripes do happen and disaster relief is certainly a laudable goal. If he can sell people on structures that are designed to resist disasters, well, he's got a market and more power to him.
The problem is, that's not what he's doing.
I mean, sure, he's selling a product, and to my surprise the BBC had the integrity to bring up problems people have had with these kinds of designs in the past, though they probably should have interviewed someone who disagrees with his vision. I, for one, wonder how he's going to efficiently heat and cool a preconstructed steel building. I also have a hard time buying the idea that preconstructed steel at that height is going to resist a serious earthquake, no matter what tests he's run. As I look through the article, I see a number of the caveats I had crop up, like the sheer sameness of every single apartment and possible pitfalls of modular construction. (I didn't know about water seepage specifically, but there had to be some reason it wasn't already being used.) Also, none of the exterior windows can open? For a greenie, he seems awfully against fresh air. All the air they have will be processed, and it's not going to look like a very safe building if the air handling system goes down. Also, cost. He insists his buildings are cheap to construct, but the article doesn't make any mention of anyone looking at his books.
What he's really doing, though, is selling a philosophy. He's a crusader, and a very egotistical one at that. I don't see anything in the article other than his own blithe assertions that a bunch of his buildings -would- use resources more efficiently. I mean it can't help but be efficient in land use, sure, but electricity? Gas? Water? He's making a lot of claims, but he comes across as a True Believer, and True Believers make claims like that whether or not they can back them.
As for aesthetics, I don't actually mind the outside of the building. I like the stepped, terraced look and exterior mirror windows. The inside, however, I can't help but imagine would look incredibly soulless and industrial. Houseplants and maybe a landscape mural aren't going to be enough to shake off that sheer sameness that will plague every floor.
We'll see in the future whether he can back up his promises. I admit, however, I am not holding my breath.
Fearless creatures, we all learn to fight the Reaper
Can't defeat Her, so instead I'll have to be Her