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Conditional constructions: Environmental discourses on natural ventilation

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Graham Farmer, Professor Simon Guy


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The critical potential of the concept of sustainability may depend on its ability to provide a space for a meaningful dialogue about the possible appropriate relationships between technology, nature and society. However, the contemporary interpretation of sustainable building reflects a process in which a global, consensual and technocratic vision of environmental change has tended to dominate the debate. The example of natural ventilation serves to highlight this process. Whilst potentially providing an opportunity for a wider questioning of the nature and extent of technological intervention, natural ventilation has become predominantly and narrowly associated with resource efficiency. This paper suggests an alternative understanding and re-presents natural ventilation as a social expression of contrasting and often contradictory environmental values. Through an analysis of competing discourses around natural ventilation the paper emphasises the interplay of distinct design logics and the contested nature of environmental innovation. In doing so the paper illustrates the possible diversity of technological pathways towards sustainable architecture. Copyright © 2002 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Farmer G, Guy S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Environmental Technology & Management, Special issue on Sustainability in the Built Environment

Year: 2002

Volume: 2

Issue: 1-3

Pages: 187-199

Print publication date: 01/01/2002

ISSN (print): 1466-2132

ISSN (electronic): 1741-511X

Publisher: Inderscience Publishers


DOI: 10.1504/IJETM.2002.000786


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