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Building a Better Planet

Frederick “Fritz” Steiner’s vision for the future of architecture is as bold as it is green.

The dean of the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin wants to see a shift in design philosophy. Steiner, who wrote the 2011 book “Design for a Vulnerable Planet,” envisions a world in which buildings reflect and complement nature. Buildings eat up 50 percent of the energy and produce 50 percent of greenhouse gases. They are also vulnerable to natural disaster. A more ecological approach to planning and design is crucial, Steiner says, because flawed design can be deadly. Consider the failure of the New Orleans levies after Hurricane Katrina. Or the destruction wreaked by so many other natural disasters around the world. 

It’s time for architecture to “move away from the great object and great man mentality,” Steiner says, “to making the world a better place for all of us to live.”

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