My recent posts at World-Architects


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Literary Dose #14

"Digital or not, today's notion of 'sustainability' mostly refers to, and derives from, a strategy of survival: a legitimate ambition for sure, even in posthistorical times. But an ambition without drive, without impetus, and ultimately -- by definition -- without much of a future. Perhaps this is something akin to what the founding fathers of postmodernism had in mind when they foretold the 'fragmentation of master narratives.' No matter how vocal, the maintenance of the status quo cannot contend with the master narratives that preceded it. By itself, reducing energy waste is unlikely to become an exciting architectural agenda. Sustainability is already an indispensable part of any building program, its technical and economic rationale self-evident and proven. The diverse ideologies underpinning it may thrive within the general compass of a postmodern environment, but today's single-minded pursuit of a 'sustainable' development is not a postmodern vision of social responsibility. It is postmodernism run out of gas."
- Mario Carpo, in "Sustainable?" from Log 10 (2007).


  1. "(Michael)Berk seeks to disabuse the notion that sustainability is a style or even a philosophy: “It is a fundamental principle of good design,” he says. “Gravity is not a philosophical position… neither should sustainability be.” Berk’s course stresses passive strategies and regenerative solutions as the means to make building physically
    and psychologically comfortable."
    - talking about the essence of ARC 2713 Passive Building Systems (Ecological Design).
    i never thought sustainability was about postmodernism nor vice versa.

  2. Michelle, that sounds like the gulf between theory and practice. I definitely agree more with the side of Berk (though I'm not familiar with his work), though one must acknowledge how sustainability is being used by the profession.


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