David Canning accused Jan Kaplicky of deifying himself (aj 14.10.99), by self-proclaiming the risk-taking of Future Systems. Canning counter- posed the evangelical devotion to Eco-architecture as 'not for fame, recognition or glory'. This assumption of a saintly mantle, and the damnation of individuality as arrogance, reveals more about the moralising im- perative of the broad church of environmentalism.
Unfortunately, Future Systems also preaches the habitual, but far from omniscient, environmental sustainability that Marco Goldschmied, in his recent inaugural address as president of the riba, described as the architect's 'duty'. Joining the disciples of creation, reducing design to a penance for supposed industrial sins against nature, seems to be the mission architects have a calling to.
Sustainability qualifies the buildings Future Systems proposes, with its own notable exception of the Lord's media stand. But maligning of individuality raises the promise of material advancement for a mere six billion of us. Instead, we need such Ego-architecture if future generations are not to despise our loss of nerve to develop new resources and greater infrastructure.
Ian Abley, Hackney, London E8