Magazine article Academe

With Push from Professor, Enviro Center Takes Shape

Magazine article Academe

With Push from Professor, Enviro Center Takes Shape

Article excerpt

FOR DAVID ORR, IDLE TALK ABOUT air pollution produces just more of the same: hot air. Assisted by students, administrators, a team of designers, and some generous underwriters, Orr, a professor of environmental studies at Oberlin College, decided to create an academic building that produces no waste and supplies its own energy. The resulting environmental studies center will practice the green ethos that its inhabitants preach.

"It's the first building that will discharge no waste products," says Orr. "Every drop of water you drink there will be the result of recycling." Due to be completed before year's end, the center will be more than eco-friendly. "This is architecture as a form of pedagogy," he says, echoing the most ardent students of the Bauhaus or Frank Lloyd Wright. Giving new meaning to the term embedded curriculum, Orr says that learning in a structure like the new center "has a hidden level of instruction."

"The goal for the building is to generate all of the power for itself from current sunlight." That may be a tall order in the far-from-sun-drenched terrain of northeast Ohio's snow belt. Yet Orr says it's possible, using "photovoltaic and fuel cell technology." As for the landscape, it's "not just decorative," but rather intrinsic to the function of the building, including an orchard for observing a "working landscape" and a wetland that processes stormwater and runoff.

The center came together over four years, a rapid gestation given the scope of the project. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.