“…Construction in concrete as conceived in the third world produces carnivorous spaces: a cave has a stone floor, stone walls and a stone roof. We do not come from caves, we are dwellers, we come from the trees and we are men of the treetops, even if we do now live in caves. Current architecture follows an exaggerated and unhealthy regimen. It is totally carnivorous. The state of nature demands that we come back to a more balanced, more vegetarian state…” Simon Velez’s statement, along with Peter Bialobrzeski’s alarming images, forces us to reflect on architecture today, always more protagonist, with its deep, fast transformations of a familiar context, violently impacting our landscape. Many thunderous environmental battles cries have arisen against the shameful lost of a deontology. Is architecture today carnivorous? Simon Velez’s drastic and pessimistic affirmation responds to the abuse of cement, steel and excess of dry walls with the imaginative strength of his creations in bamboo. The material used as a ‘vegetal-steel’ conjugates durability and flexibility, offering a natural blend with the surrounding. According to the Columbian architect, promoting sustainable construction development, the abundance of bamboo, with its easy and fast regrowth and exceptional environmental properties, makes the plant a precious, cheap alternative for wood, reducing deforestation and protecting biodiversity.
Ever more strong becomes the gesture of architecture that respects or harmonizes with nature, open to listen to the critical screams about escalating urban growth, necessities of natural resources, and global warming’s intimidating data. Treasuring mistakes of the past, today eco-friendliness has started to imbue huge part of cities’ lives, significantly effecting citizens mentality and manners of acting. Architecture and design with renewed awareness are addressing the re-naturalization of the habitat, looking for an unobtrusive re-connection, sincere integration with nature. More ecological responsive and responsible works show a growing, widespread will to heal altered biological balances and hopefully humans, who more than any other have left an indelible mark on the planet, have realized to be part of a larger community of life not only as consumers but as producers of resources, ecosystem services for other species.
To heal the deep wounds and stop the bleeding caused by the synergistic effects of fast construction and faster fortunes will be a long, difficult path; opportunism and ignorance have led to serious pollution, rise of sea level, deforestation and extinction of some flora and fauna’s specimens. It’s however comforting to notice an increase of projects that embody enduring standards of design quality, economic, ecological and social responsibility, and it’s a wish that the current widespread educational campaign will bring especially the new generations to abandon irresponsible, unsustainable conduct.
To nature we have always turned with a yearning desire for privileged moments of private isolation, where to find an escape to lift our spirit extra miles from the pressure of daily frenzy rhythms of the city, but never as now it is urgent and choral the need of its presence. Our inborn affiliation is bursting, and claims its indispensable relief: ’green’ and biodiversity are constantly pretended and emphasized in working and family’s ambiences as in community shared areas. Perched among majestic trees, sit amid thick foliage, resorts are re-proposing to wildlife enthusiasts the spell bonding of hidden retreats, embodying the intoxicating freedom of the children’s tree-houses; birds, more trustful toward human, are nesting on our balconies, that as branches protrude from vertical forest towers, headquarters and shopping centers develop among orchards and ponds. Roofs of buildings are entirely dedicated to urban agriculture; façades, courtyards and urban settings are transformed into shared green spaces in order to encourage a system of participated economy and responsible neighborhood. Everything seems a hymn to a conversion, what is needed is only a long lasting commitment.