A BRIEF HISTORY OF GREEN BUILDING
In the 70s 80s and 90s, the growing "green movement" responded to the perception that earth’s resources were being plundered, rather than respectfully utilised, and that the very place we live in was being spoiled in the process.

Architects and builders began to realise their crucial role as providers of that most intimate environment: our homes, work places and public buildings. In the 50s the Modernist Architects’ brave new wave of the 20s and 30s had came to predominate over the earlier more gentle version which had given us socially responsible models like ‘Cadbury World’ and the city Garden Suburb.

The high (or low) point was epitomised by the discredited 60s tower blocks, all hard-edged concrete and glass. Set in brutal urban clearances, these buildings supplanted communities, they weathered badly and the worst examples were stiflingly hot in summer, dripping with condensation and mould in winter.

The Modernist principle of a house as a "machine for living in" was not sustainable. Such buildings worked, only so long as you pumped in large amounts of energy- for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

Then came the oil shocks of the late 20th century and in the new century, the possibility that the earth’s atmosphere might be damaged, not just by CFCs from air-conditioning but by the output from burning fossil fuels themselves.

Part of the solution was environment–conscious ‘passive solar’ buildings made of non-toxic low-impact materials with good insulation; sheltered in the landscape and oriented to sunshine for heat and light; with strategies for healthy ventilation and shading to remain cool and comfortable in summer.

In the noughties the initially self-conscious, slightly stodgy ‘green building’ style matured into a fine marriage of the hard and soft modernist styles. This style was to create an architectural language favouring natural materials, efficiently expressive design, and exciting new technologies such as green roofs and solar panels.

Hess Kincaid Leach have worked and grown with these design ideas since the 1980s. Our expertise is available to our clients not as a fashionable add-on or an enforced set of regulations, but an intrinsic design approach with our knowledge and experience to back it up.