Wednesday November 11, 2011. Metropolis magazine office. We are expected by Editor in Chief Susan Szenasy who welcomes us at the door. It is quite impressive to walk into the head offices of Metropolis magazines, and not because of the design which is surprisingly very humble, but because this is where some of the most progressive people create one of the most forward thinking sustainable architecture magazines. Here in the unpretentious small space unique talents such as writers, editors, graphic designers, craft the next issue each month.
around the conference table and the Editor in Chief is ready for our get
together and sharing with us her beliefs on architects’ and designers' role which
we have to play in the future of the world.
not in the 19th century Industrial Revolution mode anymore" says Szenasy.
Haaaa!.... This sounds so refreshing and hopeful. Like the world of consumerism,
as we know it, is officially molting its old fossil fuel energy embodied shell,
which belongs to the Stone Age after all. We can finally embrace the thought of
the “Living building” challenge where the built environment takes care of the
human and nature’s needs. Szenasy raises the questions: How do we
make things that are as naturally built as possible? How do we create that closed-loop
consumption? How do we build buildings that are self-supportive? As we develop on sustainability I
particularly enjoy listening to her thoughts on the "smell of no smell"
in a building: no VOC, no off-gassing, no "faux" smell of clean from
cleaning products... just pure fresh air that marks that something different is
going on: sustainable design. Buildings need to be connected to nature,
and it starts with the smell of the interior and then continues with light, temperature
Szenasy is an
optimistic. She is hopeful because as she puts it “human intelligence is always
hopeful”. When talking about the
economic crisis she states that in this time of recession, "a symptom of
our misfits", a shift is taking place; a makeover of who we are has become
the central point of social identity. “We live in a nature-less environment
which will change with the people of the next generation”. But for this to
happen “we need to connect on a social level. Connectivity is the key”. She adds
that the chemists and psychologists can’t do it on their own; they need to connect
and look at the big picture by joining forces.
I agree and I
also personally think the generation "I" (internet) and
"text" are growing more mature everyday around the globe: Twitter,
chat, cell phones and cameras. They take pictures which they upload instantly
on their Facebook, or use to report offenders (on the streets of Cairo or MTA
subway transit), they record protests as a way to protect their rights and
document police and military brutality. These tools are extremely powerful as they
allow people to create their own media to by-pass the mainstream media. They
represent themselves instead of allowing distribution channels to wrongly represent
their groups, actions, visions, distinctions.
So we are not
in the industrial mode anymore. And that’s not thanks to new technologies only
but to the people who learn how to use it as a powerful tool to make changes.
I found this interview of Susan Szenasy which I thought complemented our conversation with her on sustainability and our role to play. Enjoy.