Friday, January 2, 2009

Sustainability versus Jesus, Round I

I spent a relatively quiet break kitten sitting, studying for the LEED NC 2.2 AP exam and pretending I was an architecture student in the early 90s. I learned two things:

1. Kittens are amazing and horrible, generally not at the same time
2. Green is trying to become God

The Berkeley Library has posted the final lecture series of the late architectural history guru Spiro Kostof. These are wonderful, quirky and incredibly informative videos of every lecture; one even gets cut off early due to a bomb threat. The overarching trend throughout history is that those who have the say get to do what they want. The beauty of the time is always directed by faith. The church had the money and the power and it did what it wanted. They had the power and the means to implement city planning changes on a scale that made the Three Gorges look easy. Pope Sixtus IV was able to completely transform Rome, straightening roads and creating vistas in a way that would have created a revolution under a king.
Now LEED, despite its many flaws and absurd bureaucracy has two huge positive aspects. It gives the designer papal authority over not only the client but also the contractor and subs to decide on materials, systems and building design in ways that were not previously possible. Any project without unlimited funding (ostensibly all projects not for the Vatican) is going to need that push to 'go green' err... i mean become more earth friendly. And the license to push is exactly what the carrot on the line, a LEED certification, can provide.

Studying thus far has been okay, the lectures have proved far more interesting than the LEED Reference manual, as has Tica's dad's copy of Curse of Lono. Luckily, I have two buddies, both Mikes who are taking it the same day. 34% pass rate, hopefully we are above the curve before things start to get funky.

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