WL: Is there where the notion of “spirit of place” comes in?
TP: Yes. Our culture is losing its spirit because everything has become so homogenized and banal. We’ve been delving into green as the architecture of the ecosphere for 30-odd years, and there hasn’t been one new idea since. I can name every single [architecturally green] thing on the market and tell you where it came from. The consumption of green has not changed either. Fundamentally, we are paying less per BTU (unit of power) than ever in history – a gallon of gas costs less in terms of earnable dollars than ever before.
WL: And you can change that through design?
TP: I want people to understand the deeper meaning of design, and through it have a deeper sense of cultural mores and an understanding of how life is shaped. An analogy would be that of the over 6,000 languages spoken today, only 3,000 are being taught. In twenty years, half of those languages will be gone forever. The same can be applied to certain plant species. We could get a grip on that, but we’re not getting a grip on losing our poetic complexity.