Back to the Future

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I’ve been watching the price of oil nudge up towards $100 a barrel over the past few weeks, which reminded me that I wanted to put in a word for what looks likely to be an interesting show opening Wednesday at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. “1973: Sorry, Out of Gas”, which was co-curated by by the CCA’s Director Mirko Zardini, looks back at the ways that architects and urbanists responded to the first oil crisis — and how so much of what they discovered and proposed then was gradually forgotten as that crisis gradually eased.

Given that we seem to be waking up again to the importance of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels — big stress there on seem — this is a good time to revisit the innovations of the past in things like energy conservation, solar power and wind turbine design. Plus anyone who actually makes it up to Montreal gets to see one of the solar panels that Jimmy Carter installed on the White House roof in 1979, at the time of the second oil shock, during the hostage crisis with Iran.

Did I mention that Ronald Reagan later removed it?

Of course there couldn’t possibly be another crisis with Iran, so maybe we have nothing to worry about.