Is it Green? The Case of Durability vs. Cor-ten

Is it Green? The Case of Durability vs. Cor-ten

Jonathan B.
Apr 16, 2008

So we're still deep in the thick of making a decision about new siding for our house. We can't reuse the old cedar siding, which is a shame, but it's in really bad shape and there's the specter of lead paint. Thanks to lloydalter's comments, we've come to terms that our long-term crush with Cor-ten could be, in reality, a short-term fling. Vinyl, despite our musings, just doesn't feel right. But where does that leave us?

An article in today's San Francisco Chronicle caught our eye -- and, of course, it mentions Cor-ten steel, which makes a beautiful and poetic appearance next to the cedar on the structure above.

The article wanders a bit, veering from architecture to issues of luxury and invoking the questionably green Lexus hybrid. But the broader point is that green design means we must privilege durability over all.

Such platitudes are nice, but they leave us one step short of a decision. The wood framed houses most of us live in, for example, aren't intended to last forever, and they certainly need maintenance. This brings out one fo the things we think is most difficult about green building: while it's easy to get the principles down, those principles often conflict. And that, in turn, can be downright paralyzing when it comes to making a simple decision.

image by Kodiak Greenwood via SF Chronicle article linked above

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