No right-thinking architect could possibly disagree with Jude Harris' assertion that environmental design should be an intrinsic part of architecture (Letters, AJ 11.1.01); after all, we have all stopped beating our wives (or husbands).How many really believe it, let alone live it, is another matter. The parallel with fire regulations, far from hitting the nail on the head, deals a nasty blow to the thumb.
I am sure most architects (and clients) regard fire regulations and, for that matter, access for the disabled, as an obstacle to be overcome. For every Wessex Water headquarters, with its modest 35 per cent glazing area, the architectural journals publish half a dozen over-glazed extensions facing north, which, far from engaging with sustainability, barely, if at all, pass the building regulations.
Your feature on residential projects under £150,000 (AJ 18.1.01) had its share of such buildings. Professor Wigginton's elegant glass box, was admittedly south(ish) facing and didn't make any strong claims to sustainability, merely that it provided comfortable conditions, without stating at what cost in energy use. As it is separated from the rest of the building it presumably counts as a conservatory, so the building regulations don't apply, even though it is a kitchen and therefore in use throughout the year.
But the 'between' 20-30KW/h of daily solar gain has to be set against a daily heat loss through the roof and single-glazed walls of 'up to' 50KW/h. The sustainable credentials of such an approach must be questionable.
Alan Kennedy, London SW12