Last week Monday, 1October, was “World Architecture Day”. No; I did not do anything special either. I suppose I got distracted and caught up in all the excitement of World Yo-Yo day and the International Tennis Elbow Awareness week. You see, we live in a world where everything is important and Architecture has become one of those many, many important things. But, I wonder, is a world where everything is important not the same as a world where nothing is important? To be honest, I wasn’t even thinking about any of this on the evening of World Architecture Day. I was at home mending the hole in my backyard chicken house that the dogs had caused over the weekend while we were away. I did notice though, that the weaver birds had built the first nest of the spring in the Mulberry tree that overhangs my duckpond. The nest was well constructed, strong, resistant to wind and, I presume, quite dry inside. But, we know that the weaver bird’s nest is not “Architecture”. Animals can build, but only artists can create Architecture. Architecture is much more than just building, it is an art form. Architecture is a statement by a human mind about the mystical nature of beauty.
I spent last Sunday afternoon strolling around the exhibits at the Homemakers fair in Port Elizabeth. I had a reasonable cappuccino, did not lose any children and managed to cleverly avoid a route that passed by the super expensive leather lounge suite my wife has had her eye on. All in all, not too terrible an outing. But as I drove home on that wintry afternoon, I caught myself harbouring curious, little, almost subconscious feelings of guilt for not buying all the cool and trendy “green” home improvement technologies on offer. I shrugged off the guilt very quickly as I came to see for the first time that we have been lead very cleverly into a trap of believing that climate change is our fault because we have not bought the latest vacuum tube solar water geyser, or the rainwater harvester with in- line UV sanitizing, or the super efficient wind turbine with deep cycle batteries. We have somehow allowed ourselves to be conned into believing that in order to solve the problem on years of excessive consumption, we have to buy more stuff!
test done, showing “leakage rate of less than 15 cub m/hr/sqm at relative pressure of 50 Pa”. Explain to your boss that an air tight building requires less heating and less cooling and therefor uses much less electricity, therefore burns less coal, therefore causes less climate change.
(This Column first appeared in The Herald on 7 June 2013)
|Article in the Herald – 4 June 2013|
For a Saturday morning, things were going pretty much as they usually do. My daughter’s under 10 hockey match at 8:30, a quick croissant and coffee in Parliament Street, then dashing through to Charlo or Lorraine or Summerstrand or wherever ever the birthday party/play date/guitar lessons were on that particular day. To be honest I can’t remember where I was on my way to, but I do remember a mild throbbing in my head recalling a particularly tasty Friday evening Merlot and I do remember that I drove past the site that Continental Tyres has been trying to rezone for the last two years. The land lies there, fallow, windswept and bare, offering no benefit, no opportunity and no hope. That’s probably why I hardly noticed it and why I certainly did not think of it at all again until I read Mandla Madwara speaking about it in the Herald this week.
There is no reason to fear!