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Side view of Solo House by Perkins&Will

"Greenwashing has been taken to extreme levels" says commenter

In this week's comments update, readers are applauding architecture writer Fred A Bernstein's forensic dismantling of claims that a luxury timber home is carbon neutral and sharing their views on other top stories.

In an opinion piece published as part of our carbon revolution series, Fred A Bernstein called out architecture firm Perkins&Will after they claimed a project removes more atmospheric carbon than it emits.

Bernstein states the firm's failure to account for all of the embodied energy produced in the luxury Canadian-mountaintop home's construction gives its clients "permission to build willy-nilly at a time of climate crisis".

"This is really a debate about building materials"

Commenters are inclined to agree. "Well said," praised Goods. "I hate these massive homes in remote locations that try to say they are sustainable."

Other readers pointed out the choice of wood as a building material does not necessarily make the building more sustainable.

"Very interesting article," said Chris Hill. "This is really about the debate on building materials. Wood vs steel vs concrete."

Jessica felt similarly. "I am in France, where the price of wood is increasing dramatically. The Americans and Chinese buy all the French timber at high prices and ship it over."

"Greenwashing has been taken to extreme levels and this article calls it out," concluded Erich Trumpelstiltskin.

Is Perkins&Will guilty of greenwashing? Join the discussion ›

Casual seating at Google Store
Google opens first physical retail space in NYC by Reddymade

"The cardboard box aesthetic" says commenter

Readers are surprised by Google's first store in Chelsea, New York, which features interior design more generic than they would expect from the company.

Elements of neuroaesthetics – a branch of science that examines how visual aesthetics can impact our bodies and minds – informed the design of the store.

"This interior could be in any mall in America, replete with the flavor of the month blond/beech veneer," said Apsco Radiales. "Embarrassing and a wasted opportunity on the part of everyone involved."

Bobby Dazzler agreed: "The cardboard box aesthetic".

"Wow, this store is just embarrassingly bad," continued Randolph Carter. "The blonde veneer everywhere and blocky furniture makes it feel like an outdated airport lounge."

Evilp felt the store had darker intentions. "By the time you leave the store, they probably have your fingerprints, face scanned, weight, height, DNA sample and behavioral profile," they said.

Are readers being unfairly critical? Join the discussion ›

Orca by Safdie Architects
Safdie Architects designs interconnected housing blocks alongside park over train tracks

"This looks freaking amazing!"

Safdie Architects' design for a mixed-use development in Toronto has received mixed reviews from commenters. The nine residential towers will be interconnected by decks that form a public park and retail area.

"I absolutely love it," said Chris.

"This looks freaking amazing!" agreed Design Junkie.

Not everyone is enamoured, with Blau commenting: "This feels like it needs another draft or seven. The trussed underside of that tower looks horrible!"

Living in the Clouds had one request: "Please more, and higher. Close to perfection."

What do you think of ORCA towers? Join the discussion ›

Casa Mirador in Ecuador by Rama Estudio
Rama Estudio creates elevated addition for Casa Mirador in Ecuador

Readers critique holiday home's "parking-garage-chic" lighting

A holiday home extension in Ecuador has sparked debate over lighting design in the comments section.

The project by architecture firm Rama Estudio involved adding a glass-and-metal box to the existing home, extending the property over the hillside.

"The bleak and oppressive ceiling with its parking-garage-chic lights gives you the experience of living inside a furniture store," said Zea Newland. "The beautiful views are wasted on this home."

G Arthur Lee felt similarly: "I totally agree that the lighting is completely wrong. I see it and the room is glowing instead of the view being an equal or greater topic of the room."

"I really hope, with all that glass, they rarely must use the overhead lighting," said JZ.

"...and yet, I wouldn't mind be living there," concluded Apsco Radiales on a more positive note.

Would you mind living at Casa Mirador? Join the discussion ›

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