How can harnessing the values and discipline of 20th-century Modern thought advance 21st-century sustainability goals and move our “throwaway” culture toward a more authentic, richer quality of life? This provocative question will be explored at a conference hosted by the Newman Institute at Baruch College. For more information and to register, please visit: Greening Modernism Conference Feb. 17th
Modernism was the defining cultural movement of the 20th century. While its application to the built environment lacked our understanding of resource constraints, its hallmark was, in fact, a precursor of today’s quest for sustainability: realizing maximum value from minimal means tailored to local conditions.
Over time, Modernism’s precepts were misapplied or neglected, with damaging results. But its power is undimmed. By applying its integrative, analytic rigor and its focus on solving problems at the deepest level, we can both serve sustainability goals and enrich our quality of life. And we can honor and reclaim the authenticity of place.
Opportunities to do this abound. Our existing building stock contains immense stores of “embodied resources,” notably the energy consumed at every step of a building’s creation. We can capitalize on this by adapting buildings now in surplus to meet new demands for space, avoiding the exorbitant environmental costs of demolition and new construction. We can upgrade buildings in active use to high-performance standards. We can sustainably preserve buildings with historic and aesthetic merit, many of them Modernist structures. We can shape urban and regional planning contexts appropriately.
To illuminate the magnitude of these potential benefits and how Modernism can guide us toward them, we’re convening a glittering roster of experts. Some are Modernism’s direct heirs: they knew its practitioners and worked with or for them. All of them view it as a living legacy. Their provocative discussions will be keyed to release of a major new book: Greening Modernism: Preservation, Sustainability, and the Modern Movement, by Carl Stein, FAIA, who will speak at the event.
The William and Anita Newman Conference Center Room
750, 151 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010
Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011
8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.