Monday, August 21, 2006

Conservation Economy: The Architecture of Statism... (Part 4)


The Architecture of Sustainable Liberty...

The Architect has been recognized throughout history as the master builder; a unique creator who renders culture in form and space, in time. As a unique cultural entity, architecture exist at once as both monument and machine; artifact and icon. The designer is charged with a profound duty to understand and integrate the values of Man into the built environment, momentarily to serve its function, to be recorded as history and interpreted accordingly. It is no wonder that the Architect is now charged with the ultimate challenge of manifesting Man’s renewed conviction for a sustainable existence. Sustainability and its Green principles are influencing many industries, professions, and institutions with a renewed sense of obligation and optimism. Many localities are now adopting the principles into their charters as with State and Federal governments. Yet, Sustainable Design is the means to effect cultural transformations with profound consequence. It is the primary mechanism with which to unify efforts for the sake of change and to manifest reform on the people… for better or for worse.

Few issues afford the means to unite individuals to a common purpose with collective effort. Likewise, few concerns encourage some to forfeit sovereignty for the sake of parity. The Earth being the isolated receptacle on which Man currently resides, resources seem limited in light of an expansive civilization. Opportunity appears disproportionate considering economic disparity. And outcomes seem further disparate in light of unequal distribution of liberty; or rather a notable tolerance for tyranny. Yet, while Man’s vessel is finite, the capacity for achievement is limitless. Resources evolve, efficiencies improve, and Man’s sense of self-respect continues to encourage more thoughtful consideration of everything.

Man has the unique capacity of virtue among a rational universe that can be both known and developed. It merely awaits the grasp. At times, individuals will fall short, whilst others achieve. It is the nature of a sustainable process. Yet Mankind is its own mentor and ultimately must be trusted to act by the blue print of history, in accordance with virtue, and through the liberty to engage all endeavors accordingly… both individually and collectively. Caution is warranted with regard to experimental panaceas offering solutions that overreach the problem and promise nothing more than ‘comfortable sufficiency’ in the place of sustainable prosperity.

Responsible action does not require the sale of Man back into the confines of serfdom where meaningful work of the able is extracted for the ‘alternative livelihood’ of the few and elite. The Architect’s benefactors are neither the tyrants of history nor the aristocracy of dogmatic sensibility. It is the client of Man; each according to one’s desires and the will to make them real. Too often, the proclivity for reverence becomes a narcotic of good sense. Principles that are not in line with rational precepts of liberty can infect the sensibility of the cleric, replacing a dedication to reason and respect for choice, with the seduction of an egocentric autocracy. History is replete with the minions of tyranny, erecting the prisons of authoritarian servitude… and moral bankruptcy. Sustainability is a cultural hydra – one head promising tranquility, the other damnation. The profession should be careful to sever its formidable body from the damned head. It must embrace the virtue of Sustainability while rejecting the authoritarian monstrosity that is the Conservation Economic model. As seductive as its principles may seem, the model is an insidious attempt to exploit professional virtue for political malfeasance. The bureaucracy of patronage must not seduce the culture’s Master Builder into becoming the builder for the Masters of men.

Author's note... Obviously, this essay was written to address the profession of Arcitecture, specifically. LEED has becoming one specific concern. But, superimpose any of a number of professions. Issues of sustainability are now transcending the built environment, reaching into many other professional realms, and ultimately all of them. Just look at the mission as outlined at the website. It is an extremely comprehension overview of an incredibly comprehensive intention, but it is by no means the only purveyor of the principals. By now, nearly ever major locality in America is adopting them into their revised charters. Schools and Universities are teaching them to students as inevitabilities. Codes are being modified, laws changed, and legal arguments and precedents established. The bureaucracy of patronage is seducing and compelling all professionals into becoming instruments for those who wish to be the Masters of all men. Take note.

See also,
Part 1 - Sustainable Design...
Part 2 - The Capital Of The Mind...
Part 3 - The Conservation Economy...

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