Preserving the Environment Through Architecture

Over the past decade we have seen a steady increase in the amount of environmental destruction that has been taking place due to the lethargic efforts of the architect industry. Efforts to try to make a difference in this problem have increased over the past few years with ideas such as the “recycle and reuse” method, however, it is not nearly enough to make our world aware of the vast environmental destruction that is taking place. As we all know, it is a devastating time in our country and around the world due to the two massive hurricanes, hurricane Harvey and Irma, that have been destroying citizens homes, towns, and cities. Through these natural disasters, many eye opening facts about architecture have been brought to the nation’s attention. Building sites with heavy machinery have not only been destroyed but have also been destroying areas that surround them. Architects all along the expected destroyed areas have been called upon to do rapid safety screenings on homes and buildings. Now, from these past few sentences, it may be a common misconception that my topic is purely about the destruction that natural disasters have on the environment however, it is about much more. It is about the lackadaisical efforts by this generation’s architects to do their job while paying a great deal of attention to preserving environment. These architects that have designed structures in the impacted areas have a responsibility to be mindful about the natural habitat that they are building in, so that when a natural disaster approaches, their building will be able to withstand the worst possible outcome. An architect should take pride in being one who pays attention to natural disaster probabilities and designing structures based upon the environment that surrounds it. Instead, we are seeing precious homes, buildings and other structures get demolished through these natural disasters.

Hurricane Irma space view

It is an unfortunate certainty that the construction sites that have heavy machinery will directly impact surrounding buildings. With how powerful the hurricane winds are, the heavy machinery will be lifted and thrown around cities as if they were as light as a feather. With winds ranging from 130–150 miles per hour, these natural disasters will spare nothing and will destroy everything in their paths. What I do not quite understand is why hasn’t this heavy machinery been moved? People should have been notified about the hurricane long before the impact so why hasn’t the dangerous, life threatening, heavy machinery been moved? As it stands, it is a guarantee that this machinery will destroy surrounding buildings and with the amount of time that people were notified about the hurricane, something should have been done about it. This will directly affect not only the architecture that is being constructed, but the buildings and structures that will need to be repaired, if not completely rebuilt, because of the lack of effort into moving these objects.

Frank Lloyd Wright house design

Many people may argue that some natural disasters give surrounding architecture no chance to be salvaged, which is true in a lot of cases. However, we are living in a time where the average architect does not put enough thought into natural disasters and the environment that surrounds the structure. These architects are doing the bare minimum instead of taking every precaution necessary to have their designed building withstand natural disasters as best as they can. This then translates over to the way we treat the environment that architects chose to build in. Skilled architects such as my favorite, Frank Lloyd Wright, engulf their designed architecture within the environment that it is in, with hopes that he can preserve the natural habitat. For example, if his plans are disrupted by a tree, he would design around the tree so that it would be apart of the house. This meaning, instead of cutting down the tree, Wright chooses to build around the nature which in return, will conserve the precious natural surroundings. I wish more architects of the modern age would model their work more like Frank Wright. By doing so, it would eliminate the majority of harsh treatment that we do on to our environment.

These sources that are listed in this essay all share a common theme. They are all discussing facts about that the two hurricanes. With this common ground, they then break off to discuss something else in specific about either of the hurricanes. As stated previously, not enough architects in today’s day in age take pride in preparing their designed structure for any natural disaster and not engulfing their structure in the surrounding environment. If the new and upcoming architects chose to place a lot of importance on these two things, I truly believe the modern age will transform and preserving our natural environment will become the most important thing when constructing a building. However, this change can only happen if one, the new upcoming architects are completely aware of this issue, and 2, the people who teach the new generation about architecture take this matter seriously and will understand that it is an important issue that must be fixed. Once this problem is addressed within our society, we will be able to see communities that were are proud to call our own. Until then, the world will continue to be mistreated and take for granted. Although not every home, building, or structure can be preserved through natural disasters, a great deal of them can be once the importance shifts from just getting the building made to building and designing the structure knowing that you did your best to preserve it.

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