One of Perkins+Will’s foremost experts on sustainable design, Peter Busby, has released his latest book written for any reader fascinated by the ability of architecture to sustain the environment, rather than allowing the environment to sustain architecture. Below, we share Peter’s introduction to ‘Busby: Architecture’s New Edges,’ the latest addition to the architectural canon. Get your copy at Ecotone Books.
Architects must aspire to do more than build. It is our job to invest passion into our work – passion for more than just the project or building. We need to care deeply about what the buildings we design are capable of being, of doing, of changing. Our work must incorporate environmental and social principles alongside the fundamentals of form and function. We must think not just about structures, but about systems, and how each design affects what surrounds it; the public spaces, the community, the watershed and the biosphere of our planet. All things in nature are interconnected, which means that our work is always much bigger than we are, and it ripples outward in so many ways.
For 30 years, I have thought about my mission to change the very structure of the practice of architecture. I have devoted my professional life to setting the bar higher, experimenting with new approaches and innovations, and raising questions about standards that establish new priorities. I do not claim to be alone in this effort – far from it – but I feel privileged to have practiced during a time of great change within the industry. Lucky timing on my part has allowed me to work alongside some of the individuals who will ultimately be credited with altering the course of architecture. Our collective efforts have helped establish a new mandate. Together, we have begun to redefine the edges of architecture.
This book will explore some of the ideas and areas of practice that stray from any traditional definition of architecture, and what we do as a profession. These “new edges” seem to be accelerating in importance and number every year. Largely, we will trace these ideas through the seminal projects of my career, many of which include what I believe to be the most important architectural trends of our time.