Eco-Sensual: LEED certified sensual healing in Montreal

“Eco-sensual design” – it's got a Marvin Gaye kind of ring to it [video] – but I like it.  It's Montreal architect Owen Rose's (meme-worthy) shorthand for the relationship that exists between smart ecological design and the sheer pleasure of being in a beautiful space.

Rose, who is also President of Montreal's Urban Ecology Centre, was featured in this week's Hour (one of the city's free weekly papers).  Given all the interesting projects that Rose and the MUEC are up to, the profile was disappointingly short.  All the same Rose managed to get in a few thought provoking quips about what architecture is, particularly green architecture.  His focus on the way people experience of sustainable design is key.


Contemporary culture links comfort to waste and overconsumption. (Think: "Bigger is Better.")  But one reason that green-design is spreading is that – when it's done properly – it simply creates nicer spaces.

Check out last week's coverage of LEED office space in the Globe and Mail's business section for example. Demand for green buildings is such that, according to one real estate company director “You will never see a new building built in Toronto that is not in some way LEED certified.”  And while some of us think of green building in terms of technical efficiency, what's driving demand (according to the Globe) isn't energy or water savings. It's the fact that – with natural light, better air quality, and closer amenities – green buildings are just nicer places to be.

From Architect Owen Alexander Rose: Big-time eco-sensuality


"Architects are the moderators between the objective world of building and the poetic world of living."

"It’s a way to combine the senses, the importance of pleasure with the sustainability. What we do is to propose a combination of pleasure-celebration with clean, healthy, bright and beautiful ecological and sustainable building design. I use the term ‘eco-sensual’ in my mind but I never use it with clients, because sometimes it can scare people away! It’s a philosophy for me, but I translate it in objective terms for clients."

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This is a blog for news and views on the future of sustainable cites. A major revamp is in the works. Until then I am keeping this version up as an archive of my past writing.

You can expect occasional updates, but not with the same frequency as in the past.

You can also find my writing on urban redesign and sustainability in ReNew Canada, The Mark, Sustainable Cities Canada, WorldChanging, and other more specialized academic publications.

Info on my consulting work, c.v. and current research focus is all here.