Lecture builds on low energy



Stressing ways of lowering energy consumption in buildings, visiting architecture professor Julie Eizenberg’s lecture “Parenthesis” kicked off the opening of the “Big & Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century” exhibit at the School of Architecture on Monday.

School of Architecture Dean Robert Stern said the lecture and opening of “Big & Green” drew a large crowd of both students and faculty. Approximately 100 members of the Yale-New Haven community were in attendance.

“This is the most sophisticated exhibition of environmentally responsive architecture,” Stern said.

Organized by the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., the “Big & Green” exhibition profiles approximately 50 green projects worldwide while focusing on creating greener cities and conserving energy, light and water in buildings.

In her lecture, Eizenberg addressed ways of promoting environmental sustainability with the use of cost-effective sunlight screens to prevent heat loss. According to the introduction to the exhibit, buildings are responsible for the consumption of most of the world’s electricity and water in their day-to-day operations.

“None of this is rocket science. Ninety-five percent of this is common sense,” Eizenberg said. “[Sustainability] is the best thing that’s happened to architecture in a long time.”

Eizenberg said it remains important for architects to meet the demands of their clients, which may include the spacial demands of low-income families, children in outdoor school spaces and shoppers in a market.

“You can’t be disconnected from the people that you build for,” Eizenberg said. “Any time you build, in my opinion, you build as if it was a privilege.”

During the lecture, Eizenberg showed slides of two schools her architectural firm had designed and drawings by schoolchildren of the particular features of those buildings they liked the most, such as a wooden footbridge and an outdoor barbecue space.

“The idea is to integrate age groups, integrate possibilities,” Eizenberg said. “Kids notice projected shadows. They notice the ceiling.”

National Building Museum Chief Curator Howard Decker said the “Big & Green” exhibition is the first in a series on sustainability organized by the museum.

“It’s not about how a building appears [or] its style. Instead, it’s about a series of attitudes that can make architecture increasingly relevant in the 20th century,” Decker said.

Dean Sakamoto, School of Architecture critic and director of exhibitions, said entities outside of the University have expressed interest in the promotion of the “Big & Green” exhibit, including the Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the International Facility Management Association. The exhibition will be on display at the School of Architecture until May 7.

“It’s an exhibition that is especially good for the public because there’s an interest in ecology that goes beyond even architecture,” Sakamoto said.

Na Wei ARC ’04 said she enjoyed Eizenberg’s lecture because it turned away from an attitude of prioritizing “personal statement architecture” above the client’s needs.

Held in conjunction with the “Big & Green” exhibition, the School of Architecture will hold the symposium “Numbers Count: Simulation and High Performance Building Design” on April 2-3.

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