Monday, December 21, 2009

The Gentle Architect

In a 1994 article for the magazine The Futurist, he proposed — and sketched — underground airports, underground stadiums, even earth-covered bridges.

SHOOT: We would do well to employ Wells' design philosophies in a more mainstream manner.
clipped from

Bearded, affable, self-deprecating and appalled by the destructive footprint that buildings, roads and parking lots can leave on the earth, Mr. Wells was dedicated to what he called gentle architecture, something that would, as he put it, “leave the land no worse than you found it.”

Writing in Architectural Digest in 1971, he set forth 15 goals that he said all new buildings should strive to meet. Among them were to use and store solar energy, to consume their own waste, to provide wildlife habitat and human habitat, and to be beautiful.

He designed some homes (and other buildings) that seemingly burrowed into hillsides, and others whose main living space was subterranean, perhaps with above-ground lean-to roofs or atria and skylights to let in the sun.
In general, his roofs were covered with layers of earth, suitable for gardens or other green growth.
Malcolm Wells was seminal, actually inspirational, for some people, me included.
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