In Mexico, like much of the third world, people build what they can, when they can, with what they find. Our reality in the US is quite different. As we wade through one relief package after the next, trying to right our struggling financial industry, the concept of living closer to today’s means provides a window into a more green lifestyle. Evidence of this can be seen in the image below. The neighbor in the foreground is waiting to build a second floor until he’s collected all the necessary materials. As he goes about acquiring what’s needed, he’s continually weighing his building needs in relation to today’s other needs. He feels the impact of his decisions in real time – “if I buy 500 more bricks, I won’t be able to travel to see the relatives for Semana Santa this year” – and avoids the impact of delayed repercussions. Contrast this with our build first, pay later method in the US. Since we often get today what we pay for tomorrow, our decisions are not constrained in real time. Rather, the influence of cost is delayed in our process of decision-making and we are left with unsatisfactory results. We continue to create more and more, with less of what we have today.
In our work, we strive for a decision-making process with each client that considers the impact of their decisions in real time. In addition to many other benefits, we feel this is the root of a greener process, one that produces more sustainable architectural solutions.