When Ideas Exceed Needs

Building in a sustainable way is a cultural problem. For example: “The idea of a tall building has existed since architecture’s beginnings and came to fruition in the Gothic era with the race towards the tallest nave and spire, and again in the United States during the early 20th century. Developing countries like Malaysia and China have now entered the global competition for the tallest building, indifferent to the building type’s ecological footprint and vying for the longest time holding the height record. The cultural footprint of a building of this kind then by far exceeds its ecological footprint. It is unlikely that rational argument will ever deter clients and architects from pursuing goals like the tallest buildings, goals that are deeply lodged in mental landscapes and reinforced by various media over decades or centuries. Similar forms of competition exist in other areas of architectural discourse.”