FORM, FUNCTION, CONSUMPTION, AND REDUCTION

Reading the piece about our fashion industry and its role with sustainability I was reminded of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, who was introduced to us the first day of class, he lived with less than 20 items of clothing.  This is similar to the practice of “modular closets”, having a certain relatively (in American standards) small number of pieces in your wardrobe. Both the man and the idea fascinate me, those who practice having a modular closet claim that it generates a less stressful life, less of their money and time is spent on worrying about what they should wear, they also consecutively state it’s a more freeing way of life. The idea of 6-month fashion is equally a curiosity to me. I personally am not one to spend a great deal of time worry about what is in fashion, I wear what I like, I am conscious of certain fashion norms for my generation and subconsciously apply them to my wardrobe decisions but am not one to throw out an item because it’s outdated. I buy cheaper items because I know they will be out of style soon and I wont worry about ruining them which keeps me from the dilemma of throwing things out for fashion reasons. But here’s the rub, my tattered cheap clothes still end up in landfills and that’s an issue.

Each of us in class are in the design field and as such are protectors of individuality and creativity, therefore, we are tasked with the issues of making our products in smart ways. We cannot let our environment suffer because of our creative whims. This idea of conscious design practice was driven home with Leyla’s TED Talk. Who knew tea kettles could be such an issue? She brought home the idea that as creators we are admirers of design and as such it is our duty to become creative in more than form or function but in consumption and reduction. As an architecture student I hope to design spaces that people will never tire of or see as out of date. I hope my designs withstand time. However, if they do not I have the ability to ensure that each of my designs take minimally from the environment during their build, used energy innovatively during their use, and will hopefully recycle into something even more lovely in the end. The investigating I have been doing thus far has opened my eyes to many factors in my own field that I need to become more informed about.  The amount of construction waste that is created during a build and its effects are staggering. Construction waste is an international issue that is being faced in every country. Landfills are being consumed by this solid waste and there is much debate of how to address it. As a designer my designs could heavily impact this wicked problem, by holding myself, my clients, and those who work alongside me responsible for our actions in the process of building. It is my duty to research each stage of the design and build process of projects and ensure materials that I plan to use are wise ecological choices but that the materials already on site are respected and properly used the best way possible. Reusing as much of a preexisting building as possible, sorting debris from demolition properly, and opting for recycled materials such as Eco cement over new cement in material choices often is a responsibility as a designer. These choices, as designers, are the way that we can do our best to make a difference in our fields. Think beyond the standards of function and form and into the details of consumption and reduction of our designs. 

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