Sunday, February 15, 2009

Google's Green - And There's a Video to Prove it

"Green living at Google's D.C. office"
(February 13, 2009)

"Google offices around the world are known for their great food, colorful lava lamps, and foosball tables -- but how do these buildings fit in with our commitment to "go green"?..."

"Google Tour (Washington, D.C.)"

ericjkuhn, YouTube (February 11, 2009)
video (5:20)

Despite the current buzzwords, there's some fairly smart design shown here. And, once or twice, the point is made that some of the "green" technologies also cost less to maintain. (It doesn't always work that way: I have to be careful to do a benefit/cost analysis about 'energy saving' light bulbs and other new gadgets.)

One thing that impressed me was the absence of a suspended ceiling. It's less expensive, uses fewer resources, and - what impressed me - acknowledges the basic structure of the building. Air system and all.

How I See Industrial- and Post-Industrial Age architecture

It's changing, but many people - including architects - have apparently lost the idea that it's okay to show how a building works.

Familiar architectural features - like the old post-and-lintel trim around doors - reflects a time when a door actually was a hole in the wall, with a post on either side, and a lintel across the posts to hold the wall up.

When iron and steel construction, and other new building technologies, came, the old forms were often retained as decoration: like shaping iron pillars to resemble stone columns.

Or, covering the prestressed concrete bones of a building with acoustic tile. True, it's a good idea to control echoes in rooms and hallways: but disguising the structure of the building isn't necessary.

Europeans, at least, didn't always hid architectural and engineering details. Half-timbering didn't start out as a sort of fashion statement. That wonderful web of wooden beams was what held the structure up: the walls between were made of a different material, for protection from the elements, security, and perhaps privacy.

It looks like architects and interior designers - and their clients - are starting to realize that structural elements can be exposed, even in commercial (and residential) buildings.

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