Some 500 architects from across Iowa are gathered in Des Moines today to learn more about "green" buildings and environment-friendly construction techniques. Ulrike Passe, a professor in the College of Design at Iowa State University, is one of today’s speakers.
Passe, a native of Germany, says her address focuses on why Europe’s architecture is more "green" than in the U.S. — and in Iowa. Passe says: "It’s not about adopting because Iowa has a very different climate than most parts of Europe. I think it’s about understanding the physics and the climate, the environment and not working against it but trying to make as much use of the natural flows as possible."
She says the advent of air conditioning caused some architects to forget completely about the best places for windows and doors to take advantage of the air flows. Passe says: "Natural ventilation flows have been cut off for most buildings in the United States. That led to a very different construction and also different reliance on summer comfort in buildings. Looking back at what happened before we had air conditioning and mechanization is one way of dealing with more green approaches to architecture."
Members of the American Institute of Architects, Iowa Chapter, are meeting today and Friday at the Polk County Convention Complex in Des Moines. The theme "Now What?" explores the future of the industry and the impact on sustainability of Iowa’s communities.