“Green” Starts With the Letter “S”

Friday, Aug. 14, 2009
3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Facilitated by Robert L. Rogers

Are there methodologies of building and site design based in nature which can utilize Bahá’í principles for their implementation, and go beyond current methodologies such as LEED? This presentation says “yes”, combining visuals, poetry and interaction to focus on six elements of sustainability: spirit, seed, sky, soil, skin and systems. These elements are broken into major aspects of project design and construction, and follow up use by “sustainers” (owners and users of space). Bahá’í principles such as honesty, justice, and oneness are added to help ensure a project is successful with commitments to overall goals of sustainable living.

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One response to ““Green” Starts With the Letter “S”

  1. Charles Boyle

    Interesting idea worth exploring:
    Certainly the way we can seek inspiration for our work using the meditative processes inherent in the spiritual disciplines of being a Bahai. All that we need to be uniquely creative we have already absorbed through prior experience, and the job is to clear away the unnecessary to polish up that rough gem.

    We can implement our work using principles of consultation and consensus, underwritten by a commitment to honesty and integrity. I prepare “project implementation plans” which always summarise the basic principels of consultation leading to consensual decisions for control group meetings.

    We can guide our clients into making informed decisions based on our experience and commitment to the welfare of the planet, and value for money which would embrace issues of social justice.

    When teaching architecture in Papua New Guinea I would encourage my students to explore the possibilities of a “virtuous architecture” where the physiology of the building reflected spiritual virtues – generosity (in not skimping on space where space was required), responsibility (in the selection of materials, systems and methods), courtesy (in planning washrooms or accommodating special needs), and honesty (in using materials as they should be used, combining functionality with appearance).

    I have long held the view that amongst the reasons we find something beautiful / attractive / engaging is because we can observe something of the virtues we should aspire to in our own lives – balance (in symetrics and para-symetrics), courage (the lone pine tree clinging to the cliff edge), love/tolerance/acceptance (the variety of colours and textures often resonant with a common theme of scale, shape, orientation) and so forth. Thus I read the payers to be inspired especially by the closing lines that commonly highlight various divine qualities; thus with my thoughts awakened, I seek them out in everything I see around me, or use them as a lens by which I re-cast my observations.

    The extent to which we can formulate the built environment we are tasked to design and build depends on how much we can encourage our clients to accept the responsibilities we recognise, and this is a process of building client confidence in our ability to deliver on their needs in a away that serves the better interests of others: this is possible, especially in these times of economic uncertainty if there is obvious financial benefit. “If it pays it stays”.

    We should NEVER be afraid of presenting our views and encouraging our clients to recast their way of doing business.