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Why Architects Must Lead on Sustainable Design

This article, which originally appeared on GreenBiz, is by Lance Hosey, the chief sustainability officer of the global design leader RTKL

Sustainability leader Hunter Lovins once called the building industry "dynamically conservative — it works hard to stay in the same place."

But old habits cannot fully address new challenges. According to 350.org, fossil fuel corporations currently have in their reserves five times the amount of carbon that, if burned too quickly, may raise atmospheric temperatures to a catastrophic level where Hurricane Sandy-scale storms could become the norm. Quicker, deeper progress is imperative.

Architecture is an essential arena for sustainable innovation. Buildings represent about half the annual energy and emissions in the U.S. and three-quarters of its electricity. With the built environment growing — the U.S. building stock increases by about 3 billion square feet every year — architects have a historic opportunity to transform its impact for the better.

Keep reading to find out the 6 Steps architects can take to transform the profession, after the break...

Giveaway Winner: Signed copy of ‘Stadia: The Populous Design and Development Guide’

Last week, thanks to the courtesy of Populous we gave you the chance to win a signed copy of: ‘‘Stadia: The Populous Design and Development Guide". To participate, we asked you to answer the following question:

House Lev / Metarquitectura

  • Architects: Metarquitectura
  • Location: Puebla, Mexico
  • Architect in Charge: Arq. Ezequiel Aguilar Martínez, Arq. Sergio Álvarez
  • Area: 890.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2008
  • Photographs: Patrick López Jaime

© Patrick López Jaime © Patrick López Jaime © Patrick López Jaime © Patrick López Jaime

Fox House / PIQUE Architecture

© Nicole Werner
© Nicole Werner

© Alan Brandt © Alan Brandt © Alan Brandt © Alan Brandt

Day Care Village Competition Entry / PRAUD

Providing services to 80 residents with developmental intellectual disabilities, the Day Care Village proposal by PRAUD sits on a site on the north-west side of Beer Sheba. The city provides facilities and community services to 700 people with developmental intellectual disabilities of various levels, and the project is part of their aim to support and assist those in need. Hence, the project must not only address the demand of day care center but also suggest a typology for day care center so that it can influence future development of service facilities in Beer Sheba. More images and architects’ description after the break.

House in Keyaki / SNARK + OUVI

© Ippei Shinzawa
© Ippei Shinzawa
  • Architects: SNARK + OUVI
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan.
  • Architect in Charge: Sunao Koase, Yu Yamada, Shin Yokoo
  • Structural Engineer: Shin Yokoo
  • General Constructors: Yasumatsu Takken
  • Area: 10313.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Ippei Shinzawa

© Ippei Shinzawa © Ippei Shinzawa © Ippei Shinzawa © Ippei Shinzawa

New classrooms for the School of Economics at Murcia University / Ecoproyecta + Ad-hoc msl

  • Architects: Ecoproyecta, Ad-hoc msl
  • Location: Murcia Spain
  • Arquitectos a Cargo: Pablo Carbonell Alonso, J.A. Sánchez Morales, M. Mesa del Castillo Clavel, Ricardo Crespi, Juli Novau Mañogil, Luis Miguel Guzmán Sánchez, Laura Ortín, Jiménez, Blanca de Juan Bayan
  • Acoustic Engineering: Bioingeniería
  • Structural Engineering: David Boixader
  • Construction: Guifersol
  • Client: Universidad de Murcia
  • Area: 472.0 m2
  • Year: 2009
  • Photography: Gabriel López

© Gabriel López © Gabriel López © Gabriel López © Gabriel López

Roprachtice House / PRODESI

  • Architects: PRODESI
  • Location: Roprachtice, Czech Republic
  • Architect in Charge: Vaclav Zahradnicek, Radim Oblouk
  • Contractor: DOMESI
  • Construction: Wooden
  • Area: 138.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Jindřich Jelínek, Lina Nemeth

© Lina Nemeth © Lina Nemeth © Lina Nemeth © Lina Nemeth

University of Toronto Instructional Centre / Perkins + Will

© James Brittain
© James Brittain
  • Architects: Perkins + Will
  • Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • Design Principal: Andrew Frontini
  • Architectural Team: Alan Mortsch, Alice Wong, Larry Silva, Claudia Bader,
  • Interior Design: Diana Shams
  • Area: 150000.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: James Brittain, Ben Rahn/A-Frame

© James Brittain © Ben Rahn/A-Frame © Ben Rahn/A-Frame © Ben Rahn/A-Frame

Demystifying the London Airport Conundrum with Ricky Burdett

There's no denying that London's airport capacity is insufficient (to put it mildly) - not just for its current needs, but, most worryingly, for the future. Nor are architects ignorant to the situation; in the last few years we've published proposals from the likes of Foster+PartnersZaha Hadid ArchitectsBeckett Ravine, and Grimshaw Architects, offering their own unique perspectives on what could be done.

However, for all the proposals (some emphasizing new off-shore airports, others on bulking up infrastructure or existing facilities), it's hard to untangle what's actually being done towards making these ideas reality. To clarify the situation, and lay our doubts at rest, we spoke with Ricky Burdett, one of the commissioners of the newly created Independent Airports Commission.    

In the video above, Burdett, a renowned architect and professor of Urban Studies at the LSE (who has previously served as architecural advisor for both the 2012 London Olympics and the Mayor of London, 2001-2006), explains the political situation in the UK that has been preventing action, and describes how the Independent Airports Commission has been assembled in order to help the government through this process. 

More info on this controversial commission, after the break... 

Collective Eco-Housing La Canopée / Patrick Arotcharen Architecte

© Vincent Monthiers
© Vincent Monthiers

© Vincent Monthiers © Vincent Monthiers © Vincent Monthiers © Vincent Monthiers

AD Interviews: Chris Wilkinson & Jim Eyre / Wilkinson Eyre Architects

During the 2012 World Architecture Festival, we had the opportunity to interview Chris Wilkinson and Jim Eyre, the directors of the UK firm Wilkinson Eyre Architects who received the World Building of the Year Award for their Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the Bay.

ArchDaily partners with Google for Google Nose BETA

We know a good idea when we see it. That's why as soon as we heard about Google Nose we decided to call our friends at Google and work something between both of us. Google has the power to bring you the scent of food, animals, and all sort of things. But what about buildings? That's were we come in.

Call for Projects: Eme3 International Architecture Festival 2013

Bringing together the new producers of emergent architecture in a space for experimentation, display and debate, eme3 just launched the period for the submission of projects to take part in the 8th edition of eme3 Festival to be held in Barcelona from June 27th to 30th at Fabra y Coats. Inviting architects, designers and artists to present innovative and unconventional projects that go beyond common trends in urban planning and construction, they are searching for projects that are product of a critical reflection to reality, with an eye on the political, economic and social context. Submissions are due no later than April 19. For more information, please visit here.

Living Arts City: Art and Urbanism in Phnom Penh and New York

As part of Season of Cambodia, a multidisciplinary arts festival taking place this spring in New York CityParsons The New School for Design and Cambodian Living Arts will be presenting a two-day colloquium titled, 'Living Arts City: Art and Urbanism in Phnom Penh and New York'. Taking place April 6-7, the event will bring together artists, performers, curators, arts managers, scholars and students in a series of facilitated workshops and discussions on how to make the arts central to a sustainable future in Cambodia, in the face of rapid growth and urban development. For more information, including a complete schedule of events, please visit here.

Kulturbau and mall / Benthem Crouwel Architects

© Jens Kirchner
© Jens Kirchner

© Jens Kirchner © Jens Kirchner © Jens Kirchner © Jens Kirchner