Martin Liefhebber Interview Part 5: Context of a Sustainable Home



To build a sustainable home, architects must consider how the building will work within the larger context of the site.

Qasim Virjee
Martin Liefhebber, Daniela Bryson, Elise Hodson
March 2006
CANADA Toronto Region, Ontario, Toronto Region, CANADA
© 2006, Design Exchange. All Rights Reserved.


Transcript

To build a sustainable home, architects must consider how the building will work within the larger context of the site. "The context you are building in is very important. If you’re going to be building in a street, in a street in a neighborhood, or if you’re building in open land there is always a very strong context that the house or the building needs to fit in. The approach that we take when you deal with environmental architecture is that the context is much bigger than that. The context of sunlight is major. The buildings need to be heated by sunlight. So you have to think in terms of a combination of criteria. Yes the street is on this side, does this happen to coincide with the south side where the sun is shining from? Sometimes it isn’t, it is actually completely the opposite. So then you have really think hard about how, then, you can accomplish a house that is ideal for being in the street at the same time as being ideal for having sunlight pour into very large windows. So that would, of course, affect what the building is going to look like. So then context is incredibly important. The context of harvesting rainwater for water supply is very important. Is the area a very dirty area? Is there a lot of air contamination? Are there a lot of heavy metals like lead? Pollution from a nearby highway? And all these kind of things. So yes, context influences design in a very dramatic way."


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