What’s Your Building Made Of?

Peter Syrett, Urban Omnibus
January 18, 2012

These days, the imperative of sustainable design invokes the health of ecosystems more readily than the health of individuals. Fossil fuels expended, old growth forests cut down, carbon produced in manufacturing: the environmental stakes are well known. But the biological implications of the choices we make in constructing our buildings and cities are harder to come by. The shocking medical realities of malignant substance like asbestos have led to surprisingly little public information about substances that may be damaging, if only we had sufficient data from consistent testing. To redress this lack of information, the architecture firm Perkins+Will went about creating a free, online database – called Transparency – of building materials that contain substances known or suspected to be harmful to health. More … 

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