AT On... The Aesthetic of Green

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Say “green home,” and most people will think of a beautiful, contemporary structure in the midst of a pristine, unspoiled landscape. Where did this image come from? You certainly don’t need acres of open space to create a green home.

Still, it’s a powerful aesthetic: many images of green homes, including those we’ve taken ourselves and published here at Re-nest, feature a verdant, expansive setting. (That, or the photos are taken in such a way that you can’t see the neighbors 10 feet away; we’re certainly guilty of that!)

Either way, we’re wondering if the Garden of Eden imagery is hurting the cause. We can see people in a more typical urban or suburban environment thinking that their house couldn’t possibly be green, simply because it’s not surrounded by green.

There’s a long tradition of the garden aesthetic in architectural Modernism. Self-named French architect Le Corbusier made famous pronouncements about “the machine in the garden.” And now, we see green houses set in an idyllic swath of green, ringed with forest, no neighbors in sight.

It might be that all this dallying in the garden is leading us astray: some argue that a return to densely populated cities is the only way the world’s population can live sustainably. Others argue that our dispersed suburbs are the perfect landscape for a solar energy economy, with plenty of space for PV panels on each roof.

Is your green dream home in the city, the country, or somewhere in between?

image of Kelly Woodford house (Oregon) via JetsonGreen

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