Traditional Building Portfolio

Sustainability and Tradition:
Ways of Building and Ways of Life

Each year Traditional Building holds a Roundtable discussion on a topic of current and enduring interest to its audience of design professionals. For the 2008, the topic is sustainability and tradition.

More column inches in the architectural journals are currently devoted to "green building" than any other topic, but the question of exactly what we talk about when we talk about "green" is still very much open. For some, sustainability is as quantifiable as a LEED score, while for others the situation is far more complex. For some, sustainability is a technological problem with a technological solution, while for others architectural sustainability is intimately connected with the patterns of economics, politics and culture.

We gathered three eminent thinkers and practitioners to discuss sustainability in general and the relationship between sustainability and tradition in particular. While each had his own perspective, there was a great deal of agreement on the interdependence of ways of building and ways of life.

Michael Carey
Editorial Director

Go to the 2008 Roundtable



The Participants

All of our participants graciously shared their expertise, time, energy and thoughts with us. They include (in alphabetical order by firm name):

Michael Lykoudis was appointed dean of the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture in 2002. A national and international leader in linking architectural tradition and Classicism to urbanism and environmental issues, he has devoted his career to the building, study and promotion of traditional architecture and urbanism. He has organized several major conferences, most recently "The Art of Building Cities," held in 1995 in Chicago, IL; "The Other Modern," which took place in Bologna, Italy in 2000; and "Three Generations of Classical Architects: The Renewal of Modern Architecture," held in October 2005 in South Bend, IN. Lykoudis is the author of Modernity, Modernism and the Other Modern, forthcoming from W.W. Norton & Co. Prior to joining the Notre Dame faculty, he worked as a project designer and architect for firms in Florida, Greece, Connecticut and New York. He also has conducted his own practice in South Bend, IN, Athens, Greece, and Stamford, CT.

Michael Mehaffy is president of Structura Naturalis Inc. (DBA Tectics), a project consulting firm. He is also co-founder and research associate of the Centre for Environmental Structure - Europe, a research centre founded by Dr. Christopher Alexander, emeritus professor at The University of California, Berkeley, and visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge in England. Mehaffy was also formerly director of education for The Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment in London, England. Mehaffy has lectured and written extensively on architecture and planning in Europe and the U.S. and has personally designed and built many projects. He studied 20th-century art and music at the California Institute of the Arts before doing graduate work in philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin and architecture at the University of California, Berkeley.

Walter Sedovic is principal and chief executive officer of Walter Sedovic Architects, founded in 1986 and dedicated to historic preservation and sustainable design. His work and firm are recognized as representing the vanguard of infusing preservation projects with green building approaches. Sedovic has lectured and published widely on preservation and sustainability. He received training in historic preservation from the University of Kansas and the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property in Rome, Italy.  

Go to the 2008 Roundtable



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