At two recent architectural events — one academic, the other professional — sustainability met with both skepticism and criticism in ways I hadn’t anticipated. It suggests we have reached a point where sustainable architecture needs to be addressed more rigorously.
The academic event was a conference at the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning in April that focused on the place of history in architecture school curricula. Most explicit was Ellen Grimes, a professor in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, for whom sustainability too often turns into the desire to return to a putatively “original” nature. She argued instead for an approach to the environment that is committed to the design of new ecological conditions.