"Starchitecture and Sustainability: Hope, Creativity, and Futility Collide in Contemporary Architecture" by Josh Stephens on Planitezen.com
Josh Stephens addresses a complex set of interrelated questions in this short article. First, he looks at the wild creations of the world's most media-savvy celebrity architects and questions the incentives and costs of these structures. He makes an interesting comparison to the fine arts, namely, the sheer magnitude of embodied energy in these monuments, versus, say, the oil on a Picasso canvas or even the steel in a Calder flamingo. Is it possible that this difference in degree is so severe it actually marks a categorical distinction that separates fine art from architecture? One which effectively limits creative freedom? Certainly architects object, but that hardly answers the question.
Stephens also addresses the important distinction between an individual building and a city, rightly suggesting that it is on scale of the city (including its suburbs) where true ecological gains are made: "Even some of the most appealing green techniques," Stephens writes, "appear trivial as opposed to wholesale revolutions in public policy and behavior." The question remains, however, whether and to what extent this obviates the social and ecological responsibilities of the architect.
The article is replete with intriguing quotes from contemporary practitioners:
Here you will find a collection of material, ranging from technical data to white papers to theory, which has influenced my thinking.