Prior to the late 19th century, architecture changed in response to the new industrial landscape. The weightof a multistory building had to be supported  principally by the strength of its walls. The higher and bigger,the better. In  America, the development of cheap, versatile steel in the second half of the 19th  century helpedchange the urban landscape. A much more urbanized society was  forming and society called for new, largerbuildings. Though there are fabulous  architectural designs from then which we can still admire today, we nowhave  different needs in the 21st century. While back then it was about creating a new  space for a new industrialsociety, now we are conscious about what we have to  keep and take care of: nature and its resources.

In terms of architecture and construction, it is now time to create smarter  buildings. One excellent exampleis House Y in Finland. The project represents  a generational shift in design ideology and ecology. It hasan intelligent approach to  energy consumption, as it is heated with geothermal energy. Furthermore, the  sunbrings natural light and thermal energy to the interior at the right time, as the  rooms have been arrangedso that they follow the rotation of the sun. The morning  sun shines onto the terrace and sweeps round tolight up the kitchen and living room by noon.

Creating near-natural designs is not only about construction above ground, but also underground:Wastewater can be hazardous to the environment, which is why raw sewage should not be allowed to getinto groundwater. That is why having a  functioning tunnel system to a treatment plant is a must in an urbanenvironment such as in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Having a sustainable mindset is not a given,but providing young people with insights into chemistry and fully educating them for their future is a goodstart.

 

Yours sincerely,

Astrid Schneider

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