Rice Center

The Rice Center was an unexpected experience. The history of the land and place was fascinating. It was great to learn about the certified LEED Platinum building that was on site. I found the alternative building materials and different techniques for sourcing materials interesting. Like other classmates, I have some skepticism about how and why certain things were done with the architecture. The history of the native encampments and damming of the river was amazing to think about. I kept thinking about how so much of what we do and see goes unseen or gets buried in history. All of the projects and intentions of the Rice Center seem to have a connection with looking backward to move forward. The tools and studies look at the surroundings and the past to chart progression and change to future predict new events. 

I side with the idea to restore nature to its original form. I thought the demolition of the dam was a great restoration. The planting of native trees and lessening the removal of current trees for construction was also nice to hear. The building of infrastructure so we can benefit from nature in the least invasive way was something that our guide touched on. I found myself unsure how to feel. On the one hand, I was impressed with the technology to create water collection methods, source light, and find sustainable materials, but part of me still wanted more to be done. I found myself questioning is it cheap and sustainable to use blue jeans as wall insulation. Or use sunflower seeds and nuts to create particle board. 

The roof of the building was something that also caught my attention. I think the benefits of a green roof are great. I do wonder how much extra material was needed to create all of the supports and water collection needed to make the roof function properly. Like other parts of the Rice Center, I find myself torn between us trying to harness nature's gifts and us realizing we have constructed something so artificial. We will never be able to revert nature back to its unaltered state. Is doing nothing sometimes better than doing something? What happens if we just leave things alone? Maybe growth and knowledge don't progress and we continue to make the same mistakes.