The Conflict Between Aesthetics and Sustainability: Empowering Sustainable Architecture with Aesthetics to Enhance People’s Lifestyle and Sustainable Behavior

  • Shaden Abusafieh
Part of the Innovative Renewable Energy book series (INREE)


Climate change is the most pressing global issue that we are facing in the current era. The profession of architecture has a great responsibility to save the Earth of this global disruption.

Despite architecture having come a long way in sustainability, it still lacks any holistic approach to this problem. This chapter explores one of the needs that is related to the process of defining an aesthetic philosophy of sustainable architecture. We examined some techniques and methods that can be applied for green solutions and analyzed if they are aesthetically accepted in the world of design. Compatible with the potential usage of these methods, we found some limitations and challenges from an aesthetical point of view. The question: will you sacrifice aesthetics for efficiency, were raised. We found most of the time a conflict between two main goals of architectural design, aesthetics and sustainability. The results show, for example, that most of the people by nature would go with aesthetics and cultural values rather than efficiency and saving energy methods. This led us to emphasize the fact that we should widen the range of considerations on technical aspects and sustainable methods and work strongly together with other professionals at every phase of the design process. Although technical and environmental aspects in building design are very important, we cannot ignore the social, cultural, and aesthetics values. We agree that sustainability opens new horizons for architecture, but this should be by hold hands to guide, not by detain. In order to create an effective and desirable sustainable architecture, architects should go beyond checklists and materials codes. Architecture needs a new “style” emerging from a new sustainable aesthetic philosophy.


Sustainability Aesthetics for efficiency Global climate LED lighting 


  1. 1.
    David BD (2008) Defining a sustainable aesthetic: a new paradigm for architecture. Dissertation, University of CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (2007) Climate change 2007: synthesis report. United NationsGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hawthorne C (2003) Turning down the global thermostat. MetropolisGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Corbusier L (1986) Towards a new architecture. Translated from the thirteenth French edition by Frederick Etchells. Dover, New York.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bachman L (2007) Eco-aesthetics: bridging architectural and ecological motivations. A paper presented at the solar 2007 conference of the American Solar Energy Society, ClevelandGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Forster M, Gjesdal K, Guyer P (2015) Aesthetics. In: Forster MN, Gjesdal K (eds) The Oxford handbook of German philosophy in the nineteenth century. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Douglass D (2008) Defining a sustainable aesthetic: A new paradigm for architecture. University of Southern California, ProQuest DissertationsGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Jodidio P (2009) Green architecture now! Taschen GMBH, CologneGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Rader M (1964) A modern book of esthetics. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Scruton R (1979) The aesthetics of architecture. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Langer SK (1953) Feeling and form. Charles Scribner, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Halpenny EA (2010) Pro-environmental behaviours and park visitors: the effect of place attachment. J Environ Psychol 30(4):409–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Scannell L, Gifford R (2010) The relations between natural and civic place attachment and pro-environmental behavior. J Environ Psychol 30:289–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gallup, Inc. Social offerings, openness key to community attachment., The Knight Foundation, 15 Nov 2010Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Heberlein TA (2012) Navigating environmental attitudes. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Panagopoulos T (2009) Linking forestry, sustainability and aesthetics. J Ecol Econ 68(10):2485–2489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Shrivastava P (2012) Enterprise sustainability 2.0: aesthetics of sustainability. In: The Oxford handbook of business and the natural environment. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shaden Abusafieh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Architectural Engineering, Faculty of Architecture and DesignAl-Ahliyya Amman UniversityAmmanJordan

Personalised recommendations