THE DRAMATISATION OF ‘ECO-TECHNOLOGIES’ IN RECENT HIGH RISE TOWERS
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Architects select, specify, organize, integrate and innovate specific technologies. In doing so, architecture also plays a dramatizing role in concealing or revealing the effects and operations of selected technologies. This paper addresses the ways in which the architecture of recent high-rise towers gives theatrical presence to so-called ‘eco-technologies’, as well as the ambitions and consequences of this dramatization. High-rise towers have become, as Russell argues ‘the lab benches for sustainable technology innovation’ (1 of 5). Major banks and corporations such as Commerzbank, Bank of America and even the Guangdong Tobacco Company, are choosing to invest in high-rise projects using a variety of emergent technologies to reduce their environmental impact and energy needs. The capital investment made by corporations in sustainable technologies in high-rise building is, at this stage, not financially recouped in reduced running costs and is made with other ambitions that necessitate making those technologies visible in the broader marketplace. This paper will examine the ways in ecotechnologies are given a dramatic presence in the high-rise tower independently of requirements for installation and operation and then put to market advantage through strategic media campaigns. In doing, so the paper more broadly examines the transfer of technology from ‘thing’ to architectural form to discursive carrier in the marketplace.
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