The Greening of Architecture

Question: How has architecture embraced the green movement?

Nader Tehrani:
Well you’re asking somebody who is a green architect as a citizen, but I’m not an expert of green architecture.  I’m also one of the people that thinking that most architects are using the banner of green architecture as a kind of soup de jour.  I think it is a serious issue.  I think that we need to think about questions of policy, questions of production in a way that is sustainable, but not everything has direct architectural consequences and one needs to remember that we are not talking about formal determinism here.  We are not talking about a direct consequentiality about a green principle and the actual form of a piece of architecture.  Imagine if you will you make a great piece of green building if you like, a great piece of architecture that is also a green building you know on Route 128.  What is the consequence of that building when the entire planning principles of the United States in a way cultivate an attitude about sprawl?  So the question of sustainability and the green movement needs to deal with the potentials of its impact on planning, urban design and architecture as a larger political effort, the architectural consequences of which have been around for centuries.  Very basic principles of a building’s orientation to the sun, the way it collects heat, the way it stores heat, the way it expels heat at night, these are well documented techniques that go back centuries and centuries.  I think there are many ways of engaging the green movement, part of them through new technologies and part of them through… actually an elimination of the very technologies that we so rely on today.  The building that we are in right now, the room that we’re in has no windows and requires a mechanical system to make it breathe.  Most buildings probably don’t need that and it depends on how we design them, but that is not an excuse not to research technologies that would advance the way that buildings work in new ways and new forms, but the linking, the direct link of determinism between form and function, between form and performance, between form and the greening movement is a myth that we also need to overcome. 

Question: Where are people working to create a more sustainable dynamic?

Nader Tehrani: 
I mean I think the mere decision to invest in our inner cities is one of those efforts.  The idea that through more density, through less public transport…  Excuse me, through less driving and more public transport, through ways of congesting if you like, our social, personal, institutional and daily lives that achieves that.  We don’t need to cultivate that kind of thing in an ever expanding domain you know in the suburbs, so sure.  I think that that is one way that we are already doing it, but that is not enough.

"Green" architecture is a kind of "soup du jour" at many firms, but the push to create sustainable buildings is an important movement.

COVID-19 amplified America’s devastating health gap. Can we bridge it?

The COVID-19 pandemic is making health disparities in the United States crystal clear. It is a clarion call for health care systems to double their efforts in vulnerable communities.

Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated America's health disparities, widening the divide between the haves and have nots.
  • Studies show disparities in wealth, race, and online access have disproportionately harmed underserved U.S. communities during the pandemic.
  • To begin curing this social aliment, health systems like Northwell Health are establishing relationships of trust in these communities so that the post-COVID world looks different than the pre-COVID one.
Keep reading Show less

Lonely? Hungry? The same part of the brain worries about both

MRI scans show that hunger and loneliness cause cravings in the same area, which suggests socialization is a need.

Credit: Dương Nhân from Pexels
Mind & Brain
  • A new study demonstrates that our brains crave social interaction with the same areas used to crave food.
  • Hungry test subjects also reported a lack of desire to socialize, proving the existence of "hanger."
  • Other studies have suggested that failure to socialize can lead to stress eating in rodents.
Keep reading Show less

A Chinese plant has evolved to hide from humans

Researchers document the first example of evolutionary changes in a plant in response to humans.

Credit: MEDIAIMAG/Adobe Stock
Surprising Science
  • A plant coveted in China for its medicinal properties has developed camouflage that makes it less likely to be spotted and pulled up from the ground.
  • In areas where the plant isn't often picked, it's bright green. In harvested areas, it's now a gray that blends into its rocky surroundings.
  • Herbalists in China have been picking the Fritillaria dealvayi plant for 2,000 years.
Keep reading Show less

Who is the highest selling artist from your state?

What’s Eminem doing in Missouri? Kanye West in Georgia? And Wiz Khalifa in, of all places, North Dakota?

Eminem may be 'from' Detroit, but he was born in Missouri
Culture & Religion

This is a mysterious map. Obviously about music, or more precisely musicians. But what’s Eminem doing in Missouri? Kanye West in Georgia? And Wiz Khalifa in, of all places, North Dakota? None of these musicians are from those states! Everyone knows that! Is this map that stupid, or just looking for a fight? Let’s pause a moment and consider our attention spans, shrinking faster than polar ice caps.

Keep reading Show less

MIT breakthrough in deep learning could help reduce errors

Researchers make the case for "deep evidential regression."

Credit: sdeocoret / Adobe Stock
Technology & Innovation
  • MIT researchers claim that deep learning neural networks need better uncertainty analysis to reduce errors.
  • "Deep evidential regression" reduces uncertainty after only one pass on a network, greatly reducing time and memory.
  • This could help mitigate problems in medical diagnoses, autonomous driving, and much more.
Keep reading Show less