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Enabling People and Practices to Create Architecture That Positively Impacts The World Around Us

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Originating in the UK, Architects Declare movement has now been embraced in Australia and is starting to gain traction in New Zealand.

It’s no secret that the deterioration of our biodiversity needs to be reversed as a matter of urgency.  Through research and modern technology, Architects Declare is encouraging commitment to strengthening people and practices to create architecture and urbanism that has a truly positive impact on the world around us.

Beyond Just Reducing our Carbon Footprint

Architects Declare aims to form standards to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructures as unified components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system. At the forefront of this venture is the issue of electricity. It promotes an intelligent approach to energy supply by integrating renewable and low-carbon technologies for a buildings’ energy needs.

Caroline Pidcock, director of Pidcock Architecture and spokesperson for Architects Declare Australia, is thrilled by how quickly the Australian people have shown their support.

This is a people movement. They want to be a part of it. We, as a collaborative, are enabling people and practices, sharing resources and ideas, and making a real difference, Pidcock eplained.

All signatories commit to raising awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the pressing need for action. They also advocate for faster adoption of regenerative design practices and a higher government funding priority to support this.

When looking forward, sustainable structures should, at the bare minimum, produce enough energy to self-sustain.

“Design should, by desire and necessity, be responsive to the people and their surroundings. It’s important to understand what is possible at a site. Building can’t be a one size fits all. The design should be influenced by the people, environment, and culture of the site,” said Pidcock.

Mitigation Principles as Key Measure of Success

Pidcock believes that practices that don’t acknowledge this change in behaviour will be limited in the future. It’s important for all involved in the construction industry so that you can meet society’s needs without negatively impacting ecological boundaries. 

Since 1992, Pidcock has seen green architecture erupt. The sector has become much more complex, challenging and exciting. 

The movement plans to establish climate and biodiversity mitigation principles as the key measure of our industry’s success.

“The declaration is not about putting limits on creativity and design but rather helping to shape it. We need to change the perimeter in which architects work. It’s about remaining creative but within the perimeters.”

Architects Declare will advocate for faster change in our industry towards regenerative design practices and a higher Governmental funding priority to support this.

The movement plans to establish climate and biodiversity mitigation principles as the key measure of our industry’s success. It will also encourage more carbon-efficient alternatives to the demolition of existing buildings whenever there is a viable option. Designing flexible and dynamic spaces and anticipating changes in their future use will also help to reduce the need for demolition and rebuild.

Enabling Resources and Considering Impact

Life cycle costing, whole-life carbon modelling and post-occupancy evaluation will become the norm for those who are part of Architects Declare.

Another key element is to adopt more regenerative design principles in their studios. Thus, architectural design and urbanism could go beyond the standard of net-zero carbon. 

Architectural design and urbanism could go beyond the standard of net-zero carbon. 

Construction waste is also a key factor and the group looks to collaborate with engineers, contractors and clients to further reduce waste.

Low impact buildings will ensure that embodied resources, such as the energy or water used to produce and transport building materials, are minimised.

A few other factors to consider include:

  • Safeguarding water resources by exploring ways to improve drinking and wastewater efficiency and management, harvesting water for safe indoor use in innovative ways.
  • Considering the impact of buildings on stormwater and drainage infrastructure. 
  • Recognising that our urban environment should preserve nature, as well as ensuring diverse wildlife and land quality are protected or enhanced.
  • Seeking ways to lower environmental impacts and maximise social and economic value over a building’s whole life-cycle (from design, construction, operation and maintenance, through to renovation and eventual demolition).

For further details regarding Australia, you can visit architectsdeclare.com.au, and those in New Zealand can check out architectsdeclare.nz

If you liked this article, here are a few eBookswebinars, and case studies you may enjoy:

Is Green Building Worth It?

How Cost Management Can Keep Global Projects Profitable

McNab Construction Study

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