From Indestructible to Pervious: A Timeline of Architecture

When humans started creating what we call “architecture”—standing buildings made for a purpose—their motivation was simple. They were not stuck with problems of aesthetics or design. They created structures for their own protection from the elements.

Over time, these spaces came to hold meaning for us, and we desired to make them more permanent. As we began to form societies and changed from nomadic hunter-gatherers to farmers and eventually expanded to citizens of cities, our architecture became more constructed, invasive. Architecture began to allow mortals to leave an indelible mark upon the earth: the Egyptians and their pyramids, the Greeks and their temples, and the Gothic artists and their cathedrals. There are structures that have lasted thousands of years—and will stand for thousands more.

I don’t want this post to simply be a history lesson. But to understand where architecture is going and what it needs to do, we have to see what it has done.   Continue reading “From Indestructible to Pervious: A Timeline of Architecture”

No More Excuses


Ecotect Example Output
Ecotect Example Output

This is my last semester at Penn, and in the architecture department, that usually means it will be the most difficult and time-intensive semester of your undergraduate career. So while my Econ-major friends are taking 3 credits and having fun on the weekends, I’m spending free time working in teams and learning how to use a new piece of software: Autodesk‘s somewhat unknown Ecotect Analysis.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter about the dichotomy of work vs. play; most of us architecture students would much prefer learning a new piece of software or discussing the latest smart building material over a night of drinking, so this is pretty exciting stuff. I had never heard of Ecotect prior to about a month and a half ago, and what I knew was very limited.   Continue reading “No More Excuses”

23 Days To Go: The Habit of Consumption

Jess is far too modest to advertise this herself, but I just have to tell you about it. She now has her own website with all her graphics and architectural designs. It’s a gorgeous portfolio. Please give it a look, and tell your friends: https://www.jessicaleebutler.com/Index.html. — AWO

A large portion of my posts relate to the trends, shortcomings, and advantages of the “green” movement within the realm of architecture. I have my opinions and concerns about the popularity of the green movement as just a “fad,” something that people just do for the sticker price or for first impression. While I don’t deny that it’s good people are moving in a more sustainable direction for whatever reason they choose, we need to be changing not just our standards and incentives, but also our motivations and thought processes.   Continue reading “23 Days To Go: The Habit of Consumption”

The Cost of Being “Green”

I recently read an article on Good Magazine’s website about LEED and its comparison with other current green building measures. This article, along with many others that have mentioned the economics of the new green movement, spurred my thinking about the different costs of a green building (and in particular homes, as that is my main interest). I’ll take a look at some of the aspects of designing and building a green structure and evaluate their relative costs and products.   Continue reading “The Cost of Being “Green””

The Definition of “Green”: Education and Sustainable Building

This summer I had the opportunity to work with a handful of Philadelphia professionals as part of a Green Homes report I was writing for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. After speaking with these professionals, and taking into account the experience I had at the Energy Coordinating Agency in my internship last summer, I realized that the largest problem with sustainable building (as with many other areas) is ignorance.   Continue reading “The Definition of “Green”: Education and Sustainable Building”