Monday, April 30, 2012

Build for your Climate

This is why tall, glass towers in sunny, hot, windy climates aren't such a good idea.  Let alone surrounded by paving.  Heat island!  Multiplied by ambient, reflective solar gain!  We can bake eggs on the street!  See, our streets are multi-modal.

Tim at D Magazine adds to his excellent cover story on the tussle between Museum Tower, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and the 30-40 degrees of seperation between them.  Fahrenheit.

I added the below comment:

Greener on the inside. Less green on the outside. Then it’s hardly green at all, innit? Such is the failing of narrow abstractions like LEED and green building codes that only look inside one building at a time. Light/heat is still going somewhere. The costs are merely deferred elsewhere and to others. Externalized, literally.

As for the Nasher's legal claim?  While nothing is in the zoning for them to stand on, and the covenants on the Museum Tower site expired in 2008, it seems to me there is still a case for a "taking" somewhere within the nebulous depths of property rights law.   Certainly, the value and ability to capitalize on their land is diminished because of the heat, discomfort, and potential damage to valuable artwork within the Nasher property.

Furthermore, if that doesn't make for a case against the other property owner, does that make for a case against the city due to inaction?  Where cities will regulate pollution, noise, and other disturbances between property, from my understanding there has been little precedence in the way of ambient light/heat outside of the Disney Concert Hall in LA.  Where that was a public entity diminishing quality of life on surrounding private property the issue here is a bit messier.  And more expensive.

Which brings me back to my original take on the entire thing.  Because the resolution doesn't appear to be inexpensive and neither will want to alter their building AND that there seems to be little precedent, this may very well work its way up arbitration, to law suits, to appeals, and up the legal system.  Where it stops, nobody knows.