Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Attacking their Religion

BOTC has received a few responses to our "A Needed Autonomy" post, a post questioning the championing (or marketing) of the cause of sustainability in our built environment, irrespective of the quality of the architecture that possesses this green-ness. The reponders were "offended" and quite shrill with their posts, of course, attacking BOTC peronsally with little logic, like good little true-believers in the cause of their secular religion of green design, astonished that there are people who would question the validity of green-ness.

Again, BOTC stresses that we are proponents of smart design that integrates green principles into the work of architecture. However, BOTC is always skeptical of buildngs, architects, and propogandists who consistently champion architecture that is rather bad, but offer the building a pass because it may be green.

BOTC is sick of entities either altering their logo for a week (NBC's peacock rendered in green), or creating commercials about sustainabilty (Toyota), although their products often betray the message, or placing some green verbage on a shopping bag (Arby's) that offers a pass on the green issue, assuaging the sustainabilty gods. This is green-ness as public relations, and it is very much false and mis-leading.

BOTC sees the same thing occurring in architecture and design, where entities place solar panels on their buildings, like badges of moral courage, even though the program and function of the building may be hurtful to the environment (see the new Cedar-Lee parking garage). Again, the solar panels are used to satisfy the offended or teach the unwashed, like secular didactic inconography. Utlimately these applications of sustainibility are weak and feckless, exploited for the wrong reasons, and lauded nearly automatically without proper relfection.

All BOTC is asking for is for enviro-moralists to be more critical in their appreciations for green architectural and urban design. Not all green is good.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Cleveland Design City Aggregator

BOTC is part of Cleveland Design City, a constellation of Cleveland ankle-biting design blogs.

We have recently created a more comprehensive site for all of your needed architectural design news and opinion concerning our part of the world. Please start your day at the Design City site and visit often as we will begin to offer our own local design awards, editorials, and other endeavors that will spice up the local architecture scene.


A Needed Autonomy

Architecture and Urban Design are being hijacked by overly-moralistic, faddish, and clich├ęd external movements. These external forces are manipulating architectures into vehicles of feel-good vacuity, laden with good intentions, yet ultimately resulting in inarticulate piles. These rudimentary piles are praised for their benevolence, offered at the altar of this movement or that, and everyone involved gets a hearty backslap. Yet, sadly amongst the self-congratulations, for all their supposed progressiveness, the architecture itself is usually diminished and sub-standard.

Hence BOTC’s skepticism with buildings, architects, or organizations that constantly litter their pronouncements with words like “green”, “sustainable,” or “LEED.” In our opinion when the “sustainability” of a project is proclaimed louder than the aesthetics, spaces, form, or theoretical proposition, the building probably “sucks,” which is a detriment to the larger endeavor of “architecture.” This green-ness fetish is especially profound in Northeast Ohio, where the socio-political zeitgeist is saturated with quasi-environmental activism, and the architectural progressivism is rather tepid.

BOTC does not condemn pursuing smart design. But we do cast a sinister eye towards bad design that is layered with a phony integrity supported by a crutch of enviro-moralism. Misapplied moralism, which is heraled by unknowing champions, will hinder the continued pursuit of a relevant architecture in Northeast Ohio, which in the end will be more destructive to our environment.