Not only technical development, we need improvement in appliance
We have got all the technical solutions to live a self-sustaining life. We are able to generate energy and warmth out of wind, sun, waves, thermal mass and much more. Many of these technical solutions are relatively affordable too, think of solar panels and wind turbines. So why are we still so depending on oil, gas and coil? Why are we not all using solar panels? Because people find wind turbines and solar panels disturbing, “visual pollution” some people call it. My first reaction will always be, please tell me how harmonious your oil refinery looks compared to a field of wind turbines. But that’s not the thing I want to talk about.
In many cases I do agree that solar panels are not applied in a way that suits our buildings. They are placed in an angle on flat parts of the roof, pointing to the sun, having no connection with the architecture. There are some good appliances though, think of the solar panels integrated in the glass roof at Rotterdam Central Station. In this example the panels are integrated and part of the design, that is the way it should be. Integrated in the design process, not designing a building the way we always did it and at the and add some sustainable technology but taking it into account from the beginning.
It is clearly visible that sustainable technology is still very new.
For example when the engine was invented, one of the first appliances was the car. But the first cars looked like carriages with an engine instead of horses. Slowly through time designers began to understand that this new technology needs another body. So carriages began to evolve and didn’t look like the vehicles that were once pulled by horses anymore.
Today’s architecture derives from the time the buildings were carried by horses (powered by electricity and gas from unsustainable sources), now we have engines (sustainable technology, that asks for another body. Architecture does not have to look like it did anymore, it should change with new technology.