the artistic possibilities
of designing with nature

Upcoming events

July 27, 2024
Join us as we host a fundraiser for local nonprofit Neighborhood Connections.  Event starts at 4pm.  Come enjoy the gardens in full bloom while listening to live steel drum music by The Blue Flames Steel Band and enjoy food prepared by chef Jason 'Connor.  It's going to be a great night to relax in the mountains and support a good local cause. Tickets are $50/person or $60 at the door and can be purchased here.
Design and construct the man-made environment to be in harmony with the natural environment.

Green Buildings, Green Art

author: Lawrence Linder

Good architecture always stands firmly planted in the realm of art. The artfulness of a building comes from the quality of space and light, the use of materials, the expressiveness of the details and the rightness of form that blends invention with imagination to achieve something transcendent.

The usual analysis of a building's place in the firmament of art leaves out its relative success on the environmental side; its achievement in the area of sustainable design glossed over or not discussed.

Sustainable design as applied to buildings has the reputation of a well delivered, red-faced, fire-breating Baptist sermon. You feel cleansed, uplifted and you come away with your moral center fortified. A feeling that the right thing has been done, but it is seldom art.

Sustainable design must leap over these do-gooder accolades in the area of correctness. It must find methods for blending disparate elements of good environmental stewardship with the highest qualities of design. Only then will the resulting synergy be art.

For most architects, this push to bring environmental qualities to a higher level represents a new cuisine. Like most new movements the instructions are vague, the recipes intricate and require using ingredients in complex ways that render the entire process highly complex (as if architecture were not complex enough already) There is no vast catalog of precedent that will be the seeing eye dogs to success. There is instead a curiously profound imperative, like the one that grips a parent protecting a child and calls to forefront qualities of love that govern actions. This protective nurturing becomes the overarching control. It throttles the excess fashions and ratchets up the spirit of invention that can push the resulting architecture into the realm of art.

The very best work that incorporates environmental stewardship into the core of the design idea must be brought to the attention of architects. Students must be given a mandate to study this work and incorporate the best ideas and the guiding principals of the green movement into their work.

A yardstick, like LEEDS, should always be included in the criteria for judging the work of architects. If it were today, many of our most noteworthy buildings would not even register a minimum score. Our architectural heroes would be goats. Our best buildings should be the ones that possess a magical quality of beauty and, at the same time, achieve the highest level of sustainability.