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This news article was originally written in Spanish. It has been automatically translated for your convenience. Reasonable efforts have been made to provide an accurate translation, however, no automated translation is perfect nor is it intended to replace a human translator. The original article in Spanish can be viewed at Entrevista a Luis de Garrido, arquitecto
"Concern for sustainability is only media"

Interview with Luis de Garrido, architect

Monica Daluz25/05/2008

May 25, 2008

Garrido hotel Omm, in full Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona, he chose to keep our interview; a building designed by an artist of cómics… I guess that the election was an indication of his phoney 'touch'. Ironic, blatant and forceful in its claims, Garrido is a strange mixture of wit and conviction, both elements which placed at the service of a way to understand the architecture and the life. He has made sustainability the cause, a cause that he himself lost powerless against a slave of the inertia and the powers that be society. Talk about with this Risto Mejide the architecture was so surprising as fun.
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Luis de Garrido, architect.

How do you define 'sustainable architecture'?

It is the one who tries to comply with the following five aspects: optimize resources, both natural and built, because the construction is usually a waste in all respects; reduce to the maximum energy consumption; reducing emissions and waste; increase the health and human well-being and reduce costs. In short, an architecture that allows the satisfaction of our current needs without compromising those of our descendants.

When speaking of reducing to the maximum energy consumption does regard to take into account the entire life of the materials?

In fact, is not only the building gets little, but of mesurar the energy needed to produce a material, transport it to the place where will be placed, colocarlo… even topple it for what I'm going to bring me a rug of Persia if there are also carpets?with all the fuel attendant? Another thing is that people are willing to take those data into account; There is who will say: "then I I bring the carpet of Persia because it gives me the WINS", and before that can only be regulation or awareness, or common sense and professionalism.

Apparently the society is becoming sensitive to the subject...

You said: apparently. The sensitivity is actually only media; It is the news that plays, but no one is interested in how it is made or where it comes from what they consume. Only make things easy to do, as grant an energy classification to home appliances, with the sole purpose of informing the consumer; This one, to two machines, class A and class C, only if there is little difference in price between them is left with A. There is no regulation requiring only manufactured with class. The companies have carte blanche to continue making models "the bad"...

The Administration will be granted a seal of energy rating to the buildings...

The label you so das yourself when you do the project and then show it. This label will hardly have utility. People won't make any attention.

Argument made that assertion

In a refrigerator savings can be up from 50 per cent of their cost of acquisition; It is worth paying 10 percent more. But the alleged savings on heating in a building with energy label, between the most efficient and the least efficient, is ridiculous in front of thousands of euros that the user costs the housing… People will buy the floor of the promotion of the side that, without seal and for the same price gives her a trip to the Caribbean… The argument of a small savings (just 200 euros a year in the best case there may be between housing class A and class D) does not have any validity when referring to housing, that they have a value of sale 30 per cent higher that should be, and this surcharge is free. It has no correspondence with nothing. It is therefore an argument for a refrigerator, but it is ridiculous for a home made with the current speculative plot and easy business.

But the citizens are increasingly aware of the importance of your choices in the preservation of the planet

Which not only benefits the planet is to eat a little less is simply that we intoxiquemos not. If we use the energy from the Sun, equal to a House to consume much or little; energy is the Sun. That it is free and natural. The problem is that be interests, which still have the power of natural energy sources. Who sells solar catchers? In the end they are the same. The measures being taken are a process of economic interests masquerading. The only thing that has been achieved is to reduce CO2 emissions, but only a little, and in some countries, since, in fact, emissions have increased in Spain.

So do only a little?

I tell you. The land fall roughly 1,000 watts per square meter, which can capture according to technology and technological devices to be used; You can not place solar panels of any form inside a building; the Nexus building, Barcelona, is a case of badly what can be colocar… The Sun has the habit of always go for the same site, turn around for the same site and put every day in the same way. It's boring. So that you can not put solar panels where you come in WINS by very nice that they are; among the architects and the Sun are a Mkt Many architects continue to put the plates where are least bothered, or in the best part sculptural, work or not work, because to put them that building becomes, as by magic, in ecológico…

Well, these 1,000-watt can, in a miraculous way, is coming to obtain the half, but the photovoltaic panels have an efficiency of 15 per cent, which means that the 1,000 watt arriving in the Earth the most sunny daysWe're going to pick up, maximum 75 watts per square meter on average; a very poor efficiency, taking into account also that the cost per kilowatt is of more than 7,000 euros, without installation. The number of plates required is huge and these plates must build them, with a technology that is profitable (it does not mean that it is the best but that people are willing to pay), with the corresponding consumption of energy and emissions (which produced plates are using gas and electricity) and be to add to the half life of these devices is 15 years. Energy has been used in its manufacture, CO2 emissions have been generated and 15 years will be pure junk. Now you see, economically there has been nothing and energetically, well little.

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Urbanization "Ecopolis 3000", in Rubí, Barcelona. Sustainable construction in which its author, Luis de Garrido, has sought to make a prototype of housing, with unique design and high added value, for its massive promotion.

This whole issue seems a conspiracy, a deception to great escala…

It is a pure marketing operation. It is a proposal on the grounds that people are predisposed to hear a speech from when people have bought for a car because it rendered less 20 grams per kilometre? That is toca…, comes sometimes to ridiculous extremes as the publicity of this maker of cheeses that blatantly lies to say have a zero per cent of CO2 emissions. If we look at what exists now in the field 'bio', we see that a good part is a real travesty.

If the issue is so obvious why no more regulatory laws?

It does not matter. If it is so obvious that tobacco generates problems why not is forbidden? The same with cars, the electrodomésticos… The reason is that every four years there are elections; everything is a network of interests, a makeup. If it had done as much as it is said is why this year we have polluted more than last year?

Then? What is the solution?

People moves by models; by the "ass I see, ass love", with forgiveness. "If one has what I do not?" It would start to that certain people of level or some slebs have Green House of truth, who spreads the voice... It has nothing to do either with the Administration, or with the architects, at least here, in a society like the looming

Does that is the demand the supply generator?

Exact. Why they roads well marked? Because there are thousands of accidents in a curve, and in the end he just getting so many signals that seems an alien landing strip. Thus the administration works: later, exaggerated and badly; only to draw attention.

Are you thinking in a regulatory document?

Of course, the CTE arrives late and is very bad from the point of view of sustainability, made only to draw the attention of public opinion and to justify any action by the administration. Why not regulate construction systems, architectural typologies, materials, paints, constructive solutions, must? It only regulates what is easy to regulate, regardless of its usefulness. Point. It is not him lack something, is that you there's almost nothing. The technical building code has nothing with sustainability or is going to be no solution because it only focuses on increased a little bit isolation to reduce - supposedly - energy consumption, that is a good thing in warm countries, in Spain not. In Spain, the CTE will reduce a little the energy consumption in winter, but will increase greatly in summer, as indirectly obliges the placement of more devices of air conditioning in the buildings.

Tell me something good

The document does not mention the word sustainability at any time, although it regulates something energy consumption. It boils down to four points that have to do with the insulation, lighting, boilers and the use of alternative energy sources; It only regulates those four things of the thousands that can be done. Politicians and businesses have been those who have adorned and added the palabreja… What is CTE is that we we should isolate a little better buildings; forced to thermal plates to generate hot water, in some buildings; they should be made more efficient boilers and it must be put more efficient lighting systems.
This Valencian architect of impressive résumé, also is doctor in architecture and computer science. In addition, since 1987, Luis de Garrido has made incessant educational and informative efforts, giving lectures and seminars around the world on: artificial intelligence, creative design, advertising design, sustainable architecture, sustainable urban planning, sustainable recycling in the cityArchitecture for happiness, intelligent buildings, multimedia architecture, food, longevity, and Habitat health and sociology.

The proliferation of bioclimatic buildings will be an extra added value to offset the fall in prices of real estate market?

Surely. If people do not buy the developer knows that bargain; there is no If the product is not sold will have to rethink, not by ecological arguments, scientific or ethical, the sponsor, by definition, does not have these values, but by market. "If what is trendy is the 'echo', so that haremos…" The big problem is that people think that being green is a deposit to collect water or put plates on the roof.

How can consumers tell if what offer you is truly a sustainable building?

Not going to say never. It has always been said that the consumer has to have information and on the basis of this information going to choose. But if the consumer not read or the label of ingredients of the tomato sauce, as it is to read the report quality of the building! But it is that although he read, he has no training, references, or arguments to know if what lee is good or bad.

They are today prepared professionals to address the sustainability in the building?

If, today, and life. But the architect is the last that interested why will complicate your life? Not to be an architect like myself, and a few more, we have set by own vountad this activity, because we see that it is the sensible and common sense. The architects who build much have no time for this topic... If no dan abasto, as they will have time to study, recycled and to update. Also must be borne in mind that it takes much time and effort to make a true sustainable architecture.

And what I said the rehabilitation

The current concept of rehabilitation leave things as they have always been, must change. The rehabilitation is now a mixture between archaeology and Disneyland. They do not dare to do something today. It is not that architects are bad is that are easily marketable, not put in place and strive little. Has he noticed that many interesting and creative buildings makes them professionals are not arquitectos…?

An ironía…

Very significant.

But there are more and more people interested in living in a more ecological and healthy housing

Yes, private homes biosostenibles there are many… It's young architects, with little work, and they make them home to their families and friends... But energy efficient residential areas there are no more than three or four, and buildings, as well. There is one in Madrid, the portico building, of Rafael de La-Hoz; that building has much merit. Although, from my point of view, it could have done something more cash, and much cheaper.

The building of the Expo of Zaragoza will be bioclimático…

It is a forest of columns of ceramics which pull water and to the exude refresh environment, lowering the temperature 4 or 5 degrees. But this is not a building, is a sculpture. What has been sought is the effect media not sustainability. The building adds nothing, and has less interest from the architectural and sustainable point of view. It is only a claim media, paid for the ceramics industry. Commercial interests are latent.

Do you think that it is going in crescendo which people handle such sustainable housing?

No. 20 Years ago that I am dedicated to this - I was the first in Spain - and I've been hearing the same since then: If you're going to make gold, that if it is the future... and each time have less work. People read that there are sustainable houses and believes that you complying with the current rules already are available. Therefore, due to the large number of architects in Spain, all have a friend or acquaintance who is architect and by confidence, what responsible to him, instead of relying on a specialist. The friend architect will be a barrier to sustainability; unless tell you you to put this or that painting, he is going to use the materials has always been, to not think...

In the coming years we will see much information in the newspapers, but it will be a House of cards, only smoke; We will get, sustainable building projects, be submitted to the press but not arguments will be given, and no journalist will say that this or that project is a tomadura hair... Now it is fashionable, but within three years will have passed the fashion for sustainability without barely sustainable buildings have been built. It is very unfortunate.

"CTE arrives late and is very bad from the point of view of sustainability"

What is clear is that the suppliers of organic materials will see expanded its market

That is what is going to get better. The paintings, for example will be more environmentally-friendly, so friend architect, in an indirect way, will end up with green paint.

Health theme is a good argument for raising consumer

Yes, but what is not is very difficult to prove.

Tell me about the geopatías of buildings

Electromagnetic waves in permanent contact with the people are very harmful to health, the issue is with professionals able to detect and define these geopatías; It is a very rough track, a field requiring a millimetric accuracy and amount of non-professional people which is acting. The same applies to Feng Shui. You have to rely, but on what? It is a problem; There is no school, no one gives you a title that you certify your knowledge. I will give you an example. In 95, when opened the Master intelligent buildings and sustainable construction, addressed, in the school of the builders of the Polytechnic University of Barcelona, I invited a group of 10 teachers, separately, unknown to any of the request made to the other nine, and I asked them that, as experts in the field, - flatter the ego works of wonder, make me a report of geopatías of the building in question. Everyone gave me their planitos and… only two agreed in its diagnosis! The rest, they did not seem at all each other.

Changing the third, their interventions in Construmat are always impressive; After the House Vitro and the 4R House the bar is very high with what we will surprise on the next edition?

We are currently in phase of negotiations with the Organization of the fair, there is no closed, but this is the project: is called 1 d-House, an eco-home of prefabricated base of concrete to be built in a single day. First I will say, and this end is not yet informed the Organization of the fair, that a wing, either a room or a central atrium, even not the sé…, will be made of sandbags. I am interested in the SAC. It is the only material that allows you to construct a building anywhere. You what you have been empty and stuffed it in situ. It is very interesting to make structures: place one above another, make a wall with them and then compress them. There will be the thing...

You are very clever; Note that he puts his whole being at work

It is what makes me live. Although I sometimes have the feeling of being in a circus show, to be a clown, because I do things that no one does not, and while others are making money; My impact on society is only media. When society moves by money, by inertia, the stablishment leaves no room for transformations.

Thus, despite its proposed groundbreaking, if I ask you by the architecture that comes on what to see in the future, I sense that nothing new under the Sun...

It will continue as hitherto. There will be more of the same. 20 Years ago the way of building I was the same that now, except small fashion, in our buildings makes the same heat, the same cold and eaten the same energy. There are no major changes of basis.

Is the reason that there is no major socio-political changes?

There is now an economic boom that will not generate deep changes. There should be an ecological crisis of truth, that people not leave water by his tap, which dies intoxicada… Then there would be a radical change in the positions of all...

We are better left as we are do not you think?

Well Yes...

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