Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Global Warming, Architecture, Art and my Art

This will be an ongoing series of articles dispersed periodically within the regular contents of the journal.

The natural coastal areas I draw, the salt-water marshes, beaches, canals, and mangroves near Juno Beach, Florida, and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware will probably be destroyed within the next fifty to one hundred years because of our refusal to face up to the crisis caused by the over use of hydrocarbon fuels.

Cape Henlopen After the Storm (2007)

Our attempts to green the United States of America have been a disaster these past seven years because of Mr. Bush's willful negligence in preventing mandatory regulation. However, as an individual I am doing everything I can to reduce my carbon footprint without spending a fortune on wind and solar power – which I will do once I’ve saved enough money to invest in renewable energy. Meanwhile, I have kept 60% of my property in its natural state, and planted six new trees within the domesticated portion. I use reusable cotton bags when I go for groceries. I’ve installed florescent light bulbs, and LED lights wherever possible, and I’ve joined plant-a-tree-today.org. It’s not much, but if just 40 percent of the population worldwide did these few things, we would have a significant start on cutting the emission of greenhouse gases.

Because of my concern about climate change, I’ve researched art created about this contemporary crisis that TIME magazine calls “the great story of the 21st century.* In particular, I’ve discovered two green architects, Michael Singer and German del Sol. Of course, there is also Paolo Soleri whose urban architectural designs have been around for more than 60 years. Soleri (87 years of age) demonstrates his dedication to green design through his ongoing massive 40-year desert project, the city of Arcosanti. In fact, Soleri is probably the guru of carbon footprint reduction in urban architecture and design, and it is frustrating in the extreme to see very little discussion of his work in relation to our belated current fashionable recognition of climate change. On the other hand, Michael Singer’s architecture is extremely visible, a primary example at Denver's new International Airport. His architecture is about the relationship of man to nature, and his building designs expose an awareness of nature’s supreme ability to reclaim man’s urban centers and structures. Architect del Sol creates structures that show the contrast between nature and man through use of the traditional principles and elements of design, while attempting to establish a balance between the two. In this, I believe del Sol to be related to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, le Corbusier, and other 20th century architects through his use of long horizontals, curving lines, color contrasts, and other devises to intervene and contrast man’s spaces and natural spaces, and at the same time to demonstrate that man and nature can coexist.

*Editors, “Global Warming,” TIME books, Time Inc, New York (2007).

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