Emilio Ambasz, born in 1943 in Argentina, studied at Princeton University. He completed the undergraduate program in one year and earned, the next year, a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the same institution.
He served as Curator of Design at the Museum of Modern Art, in New York (1970-76), where he directed and installed numerous influential exhibits on architecture and industrial design, among them “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape,” in 1972; “The Architecture of Luis Barragan,” in 1974; and “The Taxi Project,” in 1976.
Mr. Ambasz was a two-term President of the Architectural League (1981-85). He taught at Princeton University’s School of Architecture, was visiting professor at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, Germany, and has lectured at many important American universities.
Mr. Ambasz’ large number of prestigious projects includes the Mycal Sanda Cultural Center in Japan, the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City; and an innovative design of the Conservatory at the San Antonio Botanical Center, Texas, which was inaugurated in 1988.
Among his award winning projects are the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan, winner of the 1976 Progressive Architecture Award; a house for a couple in Cordoba, Spain, winner of the 1980 Progressive Architecture Award; and for the Conservatory at the San Antonio Botanical Center in Texas he has awarded the 1985 Progressive Architecture Award, the 1988 National Glass Association Award for Excellence in Commercial Design, and the highly esteemed 1990 Quaternario Award for high technological achievement.
Emilio will be do a presentation on - Cutting Edge Green Building Design: Green over Grey:
"The Western notion of Man's creations as distinct and separate entities - in contrast with Nature - has exhausted its intellectual and ethical capital. An emerging man-made garden is overtaking the one we were originally given. We must create an a-tectonic notion of architecture, where architecture is conceived as an integral component of that emerging Man-made Nature we are willingly, as well as unwittingly, creating. I see the task of the architect to be that of reconciling our man-made Nature with the organic one we have been given.
The Modern Movement in architecture advanced the ideal of urban redemption by proposing "the House In the Garden," i.e. the house surrounded by the garden (for example, 40% for the house, 60% for the garden), but in this formulation each component remains distinct and separate from the other. It was a good idea, but not sufficient. We must design a "pact of reconciliation" whereby we have both, "the Building AND the Garden," i.e. one hundred percent of each one, organically integrated. In such concept the building "gives back," in the form of communally accessible greenery, as much as possible of the land it covers.
For the last 30 years I have striven to find a built manner in which to integrate Architecture with Nature. In all my projects I have sought to return to the community, in the form of accessible gardens, as much, if not all, the land my building's footprint covers. A building of this nature would be accessible to and used by the members of the community at large.
Buildings like those of Fukuoka, Phoenix, The New Hospital of Venice-Mestre, The Eye Bank Foundation, Shin-Sanda, just to mention a few, demonstrate that one can have the " green and the grey " giving back to the community one hundred percent of the ground that the building's footprint covers in the form of gardens accessible from the ground floor to everyone. These buildings present strong evidence that the prevailing notion that "the cities are for the buildings and the outskirts are for the parks; " is mistaken and narrow-minded. These projects demonstrate that it is possible to have a building and the garden, one hundred percent of the building and one hundred percent of the greenery the building's users and its neighbors long for."Celeste writes for Green Building Media; an information portal for all professionals in the Built Environment, focusing on the issues around sustainable living. They have a monthly e-Journal that is edited by Llewellyn van Wyk, the head of the CSIR.
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