A green building debate
Mark Hoare and Bill Dunster
1st June, 2009
Two views on form and function in the green building debate that must be sensitive to the local environment and responsive to the local character, cultural diversity and ecology of its place without diluting its uniqueness.
Sustainable and sensitive
Mark Hoare specialises in designing alterations to listed buildings and new buildings in sensitive settings. He is a trustee of the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment and a member of the National Trust’s advisory architecture panel. He is an associate at Robert Adam Architects
Our existing housing stock has poor energy performance, and we must improve it. In other ways the mass of prewar housing is fairly sustainable, often built with local materials and skills, and using materials with low embodied energy. Our traditional buildings are structurally straightforward and capable of fairly easy alteration and repair over time – and this, in part, is why so many old buildings survive.
Houses built before the widespread use of the car have the important advantage that they are often clustered around local facilities and – at least in towns – close to public transport. In a sustainable settlement, day-to-day needs should be found within a five- to 10-minute walk.
This broader context of daily infrastructure has a huge impact on our ecological footprint. According to research by the...
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