Architecture and Climate Change
Global warming and biodiversity loss are among the most serious global issues of today. Construction industry directly and indirectly makes a huge contribution to the climate crisis: nearly 40% of the world’s carbon footprint comes from CO2 emissions associated with buildings.
Research suggests that climate change can be counteracted effectively if decisive action is taken during this decade. In architecture, greater awareness of the problem is needed not only among designers but also among clients. While many examples of innovative and sustainable design already exist, significant change can happen only if climate-friendly construction takes place on a much larger scale. This will also require a paradigm shift in how we understand buildings: not as mere objects, but as transitory stages in ongoing processes. From extraction of raw materials to demolition at the end of their life cycle, buildings have to be considered as “indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system.”
We will begin the talk by reviewing some environmental problems caused by construction industry (damaging extraction of sand, carbon-intensive production of concrete) and how they could be alleviated in the future. We will consider renewed interest in some traditional materials (timber, rammed earth) and the development of new materials (mycelium-based structures, micro-algae prototypes). We will discuss the concept of “green” buildings (use of natural resources, support for good quality of life) and look in more detail at “vertical forest” towers and how far they can affect the climate. On urban design, we will address various aspects of densification and decarbonisation of cities. At the end, we will look at architects’ recent interest in the countryside: is this indeed “the place where the future is”?
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