Misha Semenov, Yale School of Architecture, MArch I + M.E.M.
There is perhaps no narrative as often faked, abused, and misappropriated as the so-called “green architecture” narrative. We’ve all seen those swooping natural ventilation arrows in architectural sections (99% of which are invented on the spot) and heard presenters proudly announce their projects’ LEED credentials. Part of the reason I am doing the dual degree program with the School of Forestry/Environmental Studies is that I want to be better at telling truth from convenient invention. But I think there is something more to it: I want to be able to construct a narrative for a new kind of environmentally conscious architecture that is entirely built on sincere passion and spiritual meaning, and not on marketing glitz or surface treatments. This narrative, for me, must be framed on the one hand as a scientific investigation of our own human biology and physiology, of building materials, and of local ecology, and on the other hand as a spiritual and artistic endeavor that celebrates the ineffable dimensions of our relationship to nature. Somewhere in between rational, empirical investigation and unbridled personalization is the space for a coherent narrative.