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12 stunning buildings that bring nature inside

bring nature inside

Topic: 12 stunning buildings that bring nature inside

How can we build with nature? Designers have been asking this question for the past 150 years but often without understanding the meaning of the word “with”. Think of the great Victorian planner Ebenezer Howard, who believed that nature could cure the ills of city life – pollution, disease, and overcrowding. In 1898, he laid out his vision for a “Garden City,” where even the poorest worker could enjoy green spaces, which were painfully unavailable in his London. Today, variants of Howard’s “Garden City” have bloomed across the world but by another name: the suburb. Suburban areas might exhibit a semblance of greenery, but it tends to be merely superficial in nature. Their key feature, the lawn, must be carefully mowed, weeded, and watered to imitate an English country estate. Even worse: the creation of “natural” suburbs often destroyed vast swathes of actual nature. Despite their good intentions, Howard and his followers did not build with nature; they used it as a prop. Building with nature means listening to it. In the age of climate change, we cannot afford to simply use green elements for our enjoyment. If we do not build with nature, we will demolish ourselves along with it. This requires more than decorative greenery; our task as designers is much deeper, almost philosophical. It involves ending the conflict between the built and natural environment. In other words, building with nature means that architects must take nature as a partner – not an easy feat for a profession where egocentricity often prevails. First, we must protect nature – and copy nature – in our use of resources. Reducing unnecessary, wasteful building is an even more important strategy, but we still need to create new homes and businesses, especially where the population is growing. When we do have to build, we need to shift away from a linear economy in which resources are used and disposed of in a one-way, straight line. Instead, we need a circular economy, where everything is recycled and reused. When a plant or an animal dies, its body returns to the soil. Could our buildings do the same?

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Topic Discussed: 12 stunning buildings that bring nature inside

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