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Germany

Green Is Ugly: Style Problems Plague Clean Energy Push

Germany is a world leader when it comes to green energy. But while its windmills and solar panels may be cleaning up the atmosphere, they’re also sullying the landscape.

Green Is Ugly: Style Problems Plague Clean Energy Push
Ulf Poschardt

Is staying happy and healthy as long as possible worth it in an ugly world? Or will old buildings disfigured by insulation material, landscapes spoiled by windmills and dull living rooms barely illuminated by energy efficient light bulbs end up being more unpleasant – and unhealthy – than polluted air?

As of now, the green zeitgeist has not made Germany any more beautiful – just more plain. The first solar power users destroyed with almost missionary fervor the houses they inherited from their parents and grandparents. With the exception of a few avant-garde architects who build exclusively for the über-rich, the solar panel roof is an architectural abomination.

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Society

Return To Clay: Why An Ancient Building Material Is Back In Fashion

Concrete and glass are often thought of as the only building materials of modern architecture. But Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African winner of a prestigious Pritzker architecture prize, works with clay, whose sustainability is not the only benefit.

Francis Diébédo Kéré extended the primary school in the village of Gando, Burkina Faso

Clara Le Fort

"Clay is fascinating. It has this unique grain and is both beautiful and soft. It soothes; it contributes to well-being..."

Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize last March, is paying tribute to clay. It's a material that he adores, which has too often been shunned and attributed to modest constructions and peasant houses. Diébédo Kéré has always wanted to celebrate "earthen architecture”: buildings made out of clay. It's a technique that has been used for at least 10,000 years, which draws on this telluric element, known as dried mud, beaten earth, rammed earth, cob or adobe.

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