This announcement touches on multiple subjects that have been at the top of the news feeds lately. As we continue to grapple with both the loss of a large portion of Notre Dame Cathedral and now with France’s decision to open up the spire replacement to a design competition, I am surprised and pleased to find that St. Patricks is thriving while making improvements that also warrant recognition for sustainability.
This project and its recognition begin to address the growing concern about the potential conflict between historic preservation and the widely-sought after goal of net zero carbon. The concern is the intersection of character-defining historic fabric and context versus the desire to incorporate net zero technologies that could would remove, compromise or cover that fabric. I have been wondering out loud if net zero was truly achievable in historic buildings. It is a subject that will require a great deal more study, but this award for an important historic building suggests that a satisfactory middle ground is possible.
I don’t have the details on exactly how St. Patricks has addressed this issue but I look forward to finding out more.