Architect Ryan Enschede Tackles Climate Change Through Sustainable Building in NYC

by , 05/31/11
filed under: Architecture,Energy

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Enschede’s design principles aren’t new. As far back as the 1970s, Edward Mazria also proposed something similar in his book, The Passive Solar Energy Book: A complete Guide to Passive Solar Home, Greenhouse and Building Design. Enschede’s core work concerns climate response, energy efficiency, and how to implement these principles in all of his design work. He has used these principles in his proposal, “The Ten Step Program to End Energy Addiction” for the Metropolis Next Generation Design Competition where he participated in designing a government building in LA.

Here he creates a low-tech daylight distribution layout, which uses the vast amount of visible light contained in direct sunlight. He proposes that instead of depending on “band-aids” like automated interior blinds and sensor/control systems, which do not address the specific underlying problems in office buildings, one instead use sunlight distribution methods to better align with seasonal sun positions.

Enschede’s main concern with environmental sustainability efforts is to make the planet a better place for humans. “Most conversations are centered around the earth but not on preserving humans. I prefer the word sustainable because it’s more specific and tangible.” Enschede states that in regards to human interaction with nature, we need to bring “back that awareness, that understanding of our inseparability from our environment is an important part of sustainability that I don’t ever hear discussed.”

Yet despite these modern day shortcomings, in his “Manifesto for New York City” he writes, “New York can lead the way for America, and America can lead the way for the rest of the world.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Images © Ryan Enschede


1 Comment

  1. lazyreader May 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm
    Many architects preach sustainable development. But given the modern actions people do today in their life, their job, etc. If its a multi story building in the city, we're not gonna keep it cool with a 8 foot thick masonry wall. How could the building even stand up without steel or concrete. We can't build it out of clay, acid rain would destroy it. Adobe homes seem like a good idea in hot dry climates. I've seen some of them, they look more like adobe mansions, far from the "traditional". Many even have air conditioning and use decorative elements found in neo-traditional houses found in the east to appeal to home buyers. It's vernacular architecture being preached by technology oriented designers. Now I admit some of what they talk about makes sense, like solar orientation or some natural ventilation. Thom Mayne tried many non-gadget related techniques in his San Francisco federal building. The building features elevators which stop on every third floor to promote employee interaction and health. Users of the building exit the elevators and walk either up or down one floor via stairs. There are, however, also elevators which stop on every floor for users unable or unwilling to use stairs. Those elevators we're for the handicapped employees who now suffer from a shortage of elevator access. Workers seek to relieve the heat by opening windows, which not only sends papers flying, but, depending on their proximity to the opening, makes creating a stable temperature for all workers near impossible... some employees must use umbrellas to keep the sun out of their cubicles.