Special Issue "Sustainable Architecture"

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A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Arts".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Volker M. Welter

Professor, History of Art & Architecture, Ellison Hall 2834, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106-7080, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: californian architectural history; Western/European architectural history from the 19th century onwards; Zionist and Israeli architectural history; the modern city since the 19th century; history and theory of sustainable architecture; contemporary architecture and architectural criticism; modern architecture in relation to philosophical and sociological thought

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

For quite some time now sustainability has been an important paradigm in architecture. Yet in contrast to Modernism and Postmodernism, for example, which rather quickly created memorable designs and agreed upon conceptual parameters, sustainable architecture seems to struggle to define itself through exemplary, identifiable buildings, images, and ideas.

Depending on time, place, and architect or author, sustainability in architecture can mean the renewal of Modernism, the return of traditional ways of building, the continuous innovation of materials, technology, and construction methods, the reorganization of human life along collective lines, or a path to individual salvation. Accordingly, is sustainable architecture an architectural practice, a method, a style, a social, economic, or even aesthetic principle? How can sustainable architecture be defined other than as in reaction to existing ecological problems, especially when considering that mankind may face ecological issues that are still unknown? Looking back at decades of experiments and sustainable buildings, do the efforts amount to a history of sustainable architecture with recognizable patterns and emerging questions worthwhile the attention of the historian? Or is all that remains a collection of discarded, even if quaint designs?

Contributions are invited that critically analyze sustainable architecture from historical and contemporary perspectives while addressing questions as those outlined above and issues of comparable focus. Papers on any period, geographical area, and type of architecture, and of any methodological approach (including biographies of protagonists of sustainable architecture) will be considered, except those that specifically discuss contemporary technical solutions to current ecological problems.

Prof. Dr. Volker M. Welter
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Framing the Field: The Award for Sustainable Architecture
Arts 2015, 4(2), 34-48; doi:10.3390/arts4020034
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 18 March 2015 / Accepted: 18 March 2015 / Published: 8 April 2015
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Abstract
In this paper, we explore the effect that the increasingly powerful discourse of sustainability is having on the field of architecture. The term “field” derives from Bourdieu’s conceptualization of fields as dynamic spaces of social relations tending towards transformation or conservation. While the
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In this paper, we explore the effect that the increasingly powerful discourse of sustainability is having on the field of architecture. The term “field” derives from Bourdieu’s conceptualization of fields as dynamic spaces of social relations tending towards transformation or conservation. While the overlapping fields of sustainability and architecture have historically been characterized by resistance, shifts in environmental discourse towards complexity and systems thinking and the inclusion of cultural, social, political and economic concerns within the broader mandate of sustainability signal a more synergistic ideological terrain. We use methods of narrative analysis to explore these shifts through the localized discourse of the award for sustainable architecture within the Australian context and offer a brief comparative analysis of the sustainable architecture awards discourse in Britain and North America. As arguably the most public elucidations of the profession’s ideology, architecture awards are a productive place in which to explore constructions of “sustainable architecture”. The narrative analysis reveals a trajectory towards assimilation supported by the positioning of sustainability as fundamentally a social, as well as an environmental practice. Contentions surrounding the ultimate disappearance of the award, however, reveal a more perverse relationship between sustainability and architecture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Architecture)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Development, Architecture and Modernism: Aspects of an Ongoing Controversy
Arts 2014, 3(4), 350-366; doi:10.3390/arts3040350
Received: 27 March 2014 / Revised: 25 August 2014 / Accepted: 29 August 2014 / Published: 14 October 2014
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Abstract
In some discourses on sustainability, modernism in architecture is blamed for its technocratic beliefs that supposedly generated a lot of the social and environmental problems the world is facing today. At the same time, many architectural critics seem to be convinced that the
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In some discourses on sustainability, modernism in architecture is blamed for its technocratic beliefs that supposedly generated a lot of the social and environmental problems the world is facing today. At the same time, many architectural critics seem to be convinced that the present call for sustainability with its “green buildings”, is but another screen behind which well-known old power structures hide. In this paper, we react to these viewpoints in different ways. First we clarify the issues that are haunting current architectural discourses by unraveling the logics behind the viewpoints of the critics of the “environmental doctrine” on the one hand and the technical environmentalists on the other hand. We will offer, secondly, a new framing to these debates by relying upon the modal sphere theory of the Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd. This new framing will allow us to reconnect, thirdly, with the discourse of modernism, which, we will argue, is all too often conflated with a technocratic paradigm—a partial, incomplete and even misleading representation. In conclusion, we present a different framing of modernism, which allows understanding of it as a multilayered and multifaceted response to the challenges of modernity, a response that formulated a series of ideals that are not so far removed from the ideals formulated today by many advocates of sustainability. We are, thus, suggesting that the sustainability discourse should be conceived as a more mature and revised version of the paradigm of modernism, rather than its absolute counterpoint. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Architecture)
Open AccessArticle The Architecture of Metabolism. Inventing a Culture of Resilience
Arts 2014, 3(2), 279-297; doi:10.3390/arts3020279
Received: 10 May 2014 / Revised: 6 June 2014 / Accepted: 10 June 2014 / Published: 13 June 2014
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Abstract
The Metabolist movement, with its radical and visionary urban and architectural schemes, drew the attention of an international architecture community to Japan in the 1960s and 1970s. Seen from a contemporary perspective, the movement’s foremost concern was cultural resilience as a notion of
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The Metabolist movement, with its radical and visionary urban and architectural schemes, drew the attention of an international architecture community to Japan in the 1960s and 1970s. Seen from a contemporary perspective, the movement’s foremost concern was cultural resilience as a notion of national identity. Metabolism responded to the human and environmental catastrophe that followed the atomic bombing of Japan and vulnerability to natural disasters such as earthquakes, with architecture envisioning the complete transformation of Japan as a system of political, social, and physical structures into resilient spatial and organizational patterns adaptable to change. Projecting a utopia of resilience, Metabolism employed biological metaphors and recalled technoscientific images which, together with the vernacular, evoked the notion of a genetic architecture able to be recreated again and again. A specific concern was to mediate between an urbanism of large, technical and institutional infrastructures and the freedom of the individual. My aim is to critically examine the notion of sustainable architecture by rereading Metabolist theories and products, such as terms, models, projects, and buildings. For a better understanding of the present discourse, this text searches for a possible history of sustainable architecture, a subject mostly presented ahistorically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle Learning from Mardin and Cumalıkızık: Turkish Vernacular Architecture in the Context of Sustainability
Arts 2014, 3(1), 175-189; doi:10.3390/arts3010175
Received: 2 January 2014 / Revised: 25 February 2014 / Accepted: 25 February 2014 / Published: 10 March 2014
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Abstract
The criterion of sustainable design today ranks among the most important factors influencing architectural design, and the contributions of sustainability to architectural design are steadily increasing in parallel with developments in technology and material science. Although sustainability seems to be a new concept,
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The criterion of sustainable design today ranks among the most important factors influencing architectural design, and the contributions of sustainability to architectural design are steadily increasing in parallel with developments in technology and material science. Although sustainability seems to be a new concept, the subject, in reality, is not. Much of contemporary architecture depends on references to traditional architecture in its development, and there are many examples of sustainable architecture found in different parts of the world to which architects can refer. Turkey is one of these countries and it has a variety of traditional housing cultures that have developed with their own unique characteristics. This paper uses two examples that are very different from each other to investigate the traces of sustainable design criteria in Turkey’s traditional housing architecture. One of the investigated locations is in Cumalikizik, while the other is located in Mardin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Architecture)
Open AccessArticle Toward an A Priori Sustainable Architecture
Arts 2014, 3(1), 15-26; doi:10.3390/arts3010015
Received: 27 October 2013 / Revised: 2 December 2013 / Accepted: 17 December 2013 / Published: 3 January 2014
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Abstract
After decades of belief in the principles that man has absolute dominion over nature, and thus, in the separation of natural and anthropic processes, humanity is at the beginning of a new era characterized by the search for a renewed pact between man
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After decades of belief in the principles that man has absolute dominion over nature, and thus, in the separation of natural and anthropic processes, humanity is at the beginning of a new era characterized by the search for a renewed pact between man and the environment. This search has yielded new terminology to indicate sustainable ways of transforming the anthropic environment: zero-energy development, bioclimatic architecture, eco-buildings and low carbon footprint. Apparently, this new linguistic phenomenon is symptomatic of two trends: firstly, of a sort of amnesia, in the sense that traditional architecture was already sustainable, not out of choice, but out of survival needs (via its ties to local climate and materials); and secondly, of an identity crisis among designers caused by the difficulty in finding specific boundaries for the discipline of architecture and urban design. Reflecting on these aspects and through the description of two recent projects, this article addresses the renewed interest in re-establishing an inseparable relationship between natural and anthropic processes. The goal is to elucidate a localized form of sustainability by recovering and upgrading traditional knowledge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Architecture)

Other

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Open AccessBook Review The Solar House: Pioneering Sustainable Design. By Anthony Denzer. New York: Rizzoli, 2013
Arts 2014, 3(3), 303-306; doi:10.3390/arts3030303
Received: 18 July 2014 / Accepted: 19 July 2014 / Published: 29 July 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (242 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract This review of The Solar House: Pioneering Sustainable Design, by Anthony Denzer, discusses the important contributions of this book to the history of midcentury modern architecture, and considers the role of solar houses in the context of current debates over sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Architecture)

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