Synopses & Reviews
Do energy-efficient cars have to be boring? Are green buildings necessarily unsightly? Is sustainability incompatible with beauty? Lance Hosey's answer is a resounding "no," and in The Shape of Green
he argues that for far too long sustainable design has neglected aesthetics. If green is to fulfill its promise, it must be both efficient and appealing. Hosey shows how design at all scales, from products to buildings to cities, can effectively marry art and science.
In addition to examining fundamental principles of aesthetics — what makes something attractive or emotionally pleasing — Hosey connects them with down-to-earth design challenges. How can a city become as energy-efficient as Manhattan and as comforting as Grover's Corners? Could buildings be constructed of porous materials that simultaneously capture carbon dioxide and soothe the skin? What can a child's love of a shabby old stuffed animal teach designers about how to captivate consumers and lengthen the lives of their products?
Hosey's refreshing analysis represents an important step toward making beauty an essential part of green design. He believes the design community is up to the challenge and that designers can promote sustainability by embracing what they have always cared about most—the basic shape of things.
"In 2010, Vanity Fair asked nearly 100 architects to pick the best buildings of the past three decades. Architect Hosey was shocked to notice 'a glaring lack of exemplary green projects.' Evidently, 'standards of design excellence and of environmental performance don't match.' In this engaging examination of greater green possibilities, Hosey President and CEO of GreenBlue, a nonprofit dedicated to sustainability makes a rational argument that design and sustainability can not only coexist, they can fuse to create vibrant, livable spaces. Much more than a diatribe against urban planning of the past and the blight often associated with big box retail, Hosey reasons that thoughtful design from silverware to architecture can offer benefits on a variety of levels. Citing examples ranging from iPods to the rebuilding of New Orleans, and even the incorporation of scent in design (as in the prospective draping of native roses over a power station in Iowa), Hosey's holistic investigation of the way we perceive and react to our surroundings is fascinating. His underlying argument that green living doesn't have to be punishing, expensive, or boring is a refreshing take on an old debate that fans of Malcolm Gladwell and other big thinkers will find informative and illuminating. Photos & illus. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Do energy-efficient cars have to be boring? Ar
Does going green change the face of design or only its content? The first book to outline principles for the aesthetics of sustainable design, The Shape of Green
argues that beauty is inherent to sustainability, for how things look and feel is as important as how theyand#8217;re made.
In addition to examining what makes something attractive or emotionally pleasing, Hosey connects these questions with practical design challenges. Can the shape of a car make it more aerodynamic and more attractive at the same time? Could buildings be constructed of porous materials that simultaneously clean the air and soothe the skin? Can cities become verdant, productive landscapes instead of wastelands of concrete?
Drawing from a wealth of scientific research, Hosey demonstrates that form and image can enhance conservation, comfort, and community at every scale of design, from products to buildings to cities. Fully embracing the principles of ecology could revolutionize every aspect of design, in substance and in style. Aesthetic attraction isnand#8217;t a superficial concern and#8212; itand#8217;s an environmental imperative. Beauty could save the planet.
About the Author
Lance Hosey, a nationally recognized architect, designer, and author, is Chief Sustainability Officer with the global design leader RTKL. He is a former Director with William McDonough + Partners and co-author, with Kira Gould, of Women in Green: Voices of Sustainable Design (2007).