… By the beginning of the 20th century, architects also had increasingly abandoned past styles and conventions in favour of a form of architecture based on essential functional concerns. They were helped by advances in building technologies such as the steel frame and the curtain wall. In the period after World War I these tendencies became codified as the International style, which utilized simple geometric shapes and unadorned facades and which abandoned any use of historical reference; … (Suzanne Waters, 2017)
In the 20th century, modern buildings are built by using advanced technologies and materials for paramount function concerns and making aesthetic improvements to the building. Therefore, historical buildings are gradually being rejected by architects due to the advanced technologies and new materials which are emerging in this modern era. They believe that new technologies can help them to improve society and it really works until now, as you can see we have a lot of high-tech buildings around us.
The tenets held by modernists and modern architects indicated that it can have impacts on the buildings and the built environment, providing us with an easier lifestyle by using advanced technologies and new materials as mentioned previously. Hence, this essay aims to study the merits of these tenets on their application into modern designs in rendering the buildings to become more functional. It will focus on the sustainability of modern architectures and how it saves the environment, how modern architectures respond to the environment and impacted society and also the sustainability of modern building structure.
2.0 Modern architectures are mostly sustainable and save the environment!
The ideas behind those modern architecture buildings are to give people a more conducive place to live which can avoid environmental degradation and reduce wastage of energy to have a better environment. Besides environmental sustainability, it is also economically and socially sustainable because it is cost-saving without using a large amount of power and it is affordable for everyone.
The Green Building Index (GBI) is Malaysia’s industry recognized green rating tool for buildings to promote sustainability in the built environment. Energy Commission of Malaysia Diamond Building is designed by NR Architect, and it is rated as the first platinum office for GBI and green mark. The building was applied with the photo-voltaic panel, glass dome, rainwater harvesting, roof light trough, greeneries on the roof, insulated concrete roof and also slab cooling. (MGBC, 2012) It is a brand new technology to have a sustainable design and it is eco-friendly. This kind of green roof elements in energy efficiency building can save energy by using natural insulation designs such as solar system, rainwater harvesting and etc. Therefore, reducing the usage of energy, the world can be saved. Also, a talk or seminar of this technology could be provided to the society on how GBI building works and encourage people to use it so that we can have a better environment and save our planet Earth.
Another essential point, it is also economically sustainable because the maintenance fees of this kind of building are lower than the others and most of the elements are energy efficient, which means that they do not need maintenance as frequent as the others. GBI buildings provide a comfortable temperature in its interior without using a larger amount of power sources since they have the photo-voltaic panel to store energy so that they can use it for the electric. Moreover, in GBI buildings we can have better ventilation in terms of lighting and air. Figure 1 shows the Diamond Building is mostly built by glass and metal which are sustainable building materials, so that it allows the natural light flows into the building indirectly, they also make aesthetic improvements to the building too. Diagram 1 shows the cross-section of the Diamond Building is applied with natural insulation to keep the building cool.
“Social sustainability is “a process for creating sustainable successful places that promote well-being, by understanding what people need from the places they live and work. Social sustainability combines design of the physical realm with design of the social world–infrastructure to support social and cultural life, social amenities, systems for citizen engagement, and space for people and places to evolve.” (ADEC Innovations, 2018) As social sustainability is closely interrelated to economic and environmental sustainability, all three dimensions must be discussed altogether to achieve the best possible outcome.
Figure 1 Shows Diamond Building constructed by using sustainable building materials.
Diagram 1 Shows the cross-section of Diamond Building where the elements were installed.
The next evidence used to support this essay is the new technologies that are evolving to make our life much easier through the emergence of the vertical and horizontal transportation industry, such as having an escalator and elevator in high rise buildings, travelator in the airport and etc to get to your destination much more faster. What is clear is that one of the popular sayings about “time is gold”, so people nowadays rely on advanced technology because it saves time.
Following that, having an elevator or escalator in high rise buildings not only get you to your destination faster thus saving time, but also save spaces and costs at the same time without having to develop other parts of the land and consume extra materials to build horizontal buildings. Hence, high rise buildings are the more efficient use of land. As the value of the land is getting more expensive, thus modern architectures are built vertically because it is more practical. In this urban society, as can be seen in Figure 2 how skyscrapers occupied the land use of the city which facilitated mass production. Figure 3 shows that escalator had made our life easier. An escalator speeds vary from about 90 feet per minute to 180 feet per minute, (Tom Harris, 2001) it is clearly much faster than we walk. Climbing the stairs not only consumes physical strength but also time-consuming, hence we should just take the escalator since it saves time.
Figure 2 Shows how the architecture occupied the land use of the Hong Kong city.
Figure 3 Shows how vertical transportation change our life easier instead of climbing the stairs.
Industrial building system (IBS)On the other hand, prefabrication is one of the common technology that uses in modern design. The building using prefabrication method to manufacture and construct, and the components of the structure are factory-made which are transported and assemble to the location of the construction site (Wikipedia, 2018). Prefabricated construction is also economically sustainable because imitation of the components are mass produced so it produced a cheaper building that everyone can afford. As the structures are factory-made and mass produced, therefore it is time-saving because the structure will be transport and install on the site. In this case, the construction site can have a better environment and lesser rubbish compare to traditional construction. In term of flexibility, the components of the structure are factory-made and it can be moved to the other places easily.
This figure shows the installation of the prefabricated building. This installation is like the “lego” game, the components are completed on the factory and they are installed
2.1 How modern architecture respond to the environment and impacted society?
Apparently, the first impression of anything is really important nowadays, as a good looking apple and a bad looking apple, for sure you will choose the good looking one. Same goes to modern architectures, the buildings focus on their appearances to create a unique design different from the others and the aesthetic of modern architecture is in fact influenced by trending fashion. For instance, such as flat roof, a simplicity design by using clear lines, an open space and etc w0hich considered appropriate for international and all cultures. In this case, it would not lose the cultural values and also meets the needs of consumers. Figure 4, 5 and 6 show how Frank Lloyd Wright used the tenet “form follows function” to design this “Falling Water House” and how well the building is blended together with the environment. The reason why it seems to be one because it is constructed by following the topography and giving it a harmony feel to the surrounding which is shown in Figure 5 and Figure 6.
In addition, modern architectures are built differently is because all the terrains are different, as a result, it gives the building a unique design. Furthermore, modern architectures not only impacted the environment itself, but they also impacted society at the same time as well. This is because they are also connected to nature as they have the waterfall right under the cantilever where they can play over. “Falling Water House” was designed as a weekend home for the family of Liliane Kaufmann and her husband, Edgar J. Kaufmann, Sr., (Wikipedia, 2018) and the Kaufmanns loved Wright’s radical proposal to literally suspend the house over the waterfall. (Charles Wiebe, 2018)” The statement above stated Kaufmanns loved Wright’s design and this proved that modern architectures impacted the society.
Figure 4 Shows the Falling Water house features blend with the site surrounding.
Figure 5 and 6 Shows the Falling Water house constructed following the topography.
2.2 Modern building structure is more sustainable
There are limited materials back in the 20th century which caused difficulties in forming an organic shape of buildings, unlike the modern era, which has a variety of materials. In terms of safety measures, modern architectures are constructed by using lighter, sustainable, durable and better quality of materials, so that the building will not collapse easily. Modern architectures require lesser building materials which are highly sustainable by itself, thus they can have more openings or bigger windows for better ventilation and it can be built faster in a shorter period. Besides that, a considerable amount of building costs can be saved as lesser building materials are being used. For example, there is a lot of architectures constructed using steel, reinforced concrete, glass and etc kind of durable materials for safety purpose.
The following photos indicated that the German Bauhaus had managed to sustain since its completion in the year of 1926 until today. This proved that modern architectures are sustainable over a long period.
Comparison of Bauhaus in the year 1930 and 2015 respectively.
The photos below show that Romanesque architecture Castle Rising Castle (on the left) consisted of only a few openings whereas Modern architecture Flatiron Building (on the right) consisted of more than 50% of openings. As mentioned earlier, more openings provide better ventilation.
The differences in terms of the number of openings as shown in the buildings above.
The evidence presented leads me to conclude that modern architectures are mostly sustainable in terms of economic, social……. (how its impacted nowadays build environment?) benefits, discuss