Passive Energy For Washington D.C.
John Andrews (John Andrews International Pty. Ltd.)


John Andrews, 1985

©Monica Pidgeon

I guess probably one of the biggest influences on me has been what a number of architects have actually said, not so much what they've done but what they've said. I come from Australia. Buckminster Fuller in 1965 in Australia was presented with a boomerang, and it was really the first time he had taken any notice of a boom- erang, and he was absolutely knocked out by this thing that he was then able to describe. And I remember quite well he was fascinated by its ingenuity, its effectiveness and its simplicity, and he remarked that it had been born out of- community necessity and of course refined over about 40,000 years, the.process of refinement making an implement that had one moving part that had the common sense to come back if it didn't hit anything. It was aerodynamically perfect, perfectly adapted to its structural sufficiency and of course the availability of materials was everywhere. So he said 'the lesson of the boomerang is in it simplicity, its functional fitness, it looks the part for what it attempts to do, simply and efficiently'. Now that little story has stayed with me and has a lot to do with the way I look at architecture; that and Lou Kahn's statement of letting a build- ing be what it wants to be, those two attitudes towards architecture are something that's been most important to me. I don't believe that there's a very large in— tuitive leap in architecture, I think it's mostly common sense. I think there is a school of architectural thought that maintains architecture is a mystery and that's another way of looking at things. For me it's a fairly rational process, it's a short intuitive leap, it's mostly perspiration and only a minor amount of inspiration.


The Intelsat Building. The Site

©John Andrews

The Intelsat Building in Washington DC is the result of an invited international competition. The major thing about it is that it's a marvellous site, an 11—acre site three miles from the White House in Washington, a site covered with very large oak trees some black cherries, some walnut, major trees that shed their leaves in the winter. There are two major areas of trees on the site, and they've been used substantially in the design of the building. I might add that Intelsat has at this point in time 109 member nations, it controls and owns the satellites that have to do with the current communications of most of the world, it's a rather complex organisation because it is owned according to the degree of use by each individual 'country. England for instance probably owns the second largest share because it makes the second greatest usage of it after the USA. But many small countries, Third World countries without a communication infrastructure of their own, are making much greater use of it proportidnally than their population would necessarily demand.

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