Sustainable Architect(ure) by @hevesiviktoria
First off, I would like to express my gratitude to be here. CritDay exposes us to so many talented students, architects, designers, thinkers and doers from all over the world – it is not only a great source of inspiration, it reflects current techniques, design methods and thoughts on society or what society could be through representation. So, thank you for having me here to discuss and share such a significant and fragile topic: Sustainability.
Our task this month was to begin thinking about research relating to sustainability in architecture, to pick a book, text, film or article that relates to sustainability. A couple of things came to mind but quite guilty to admit, the first thing I did was google: ‘Sustainable architecture’. After about 3 hours into browsing various topics and pages, listening to podcasts and looking at the 30th Eco-Architecture firm, I realized my frustration.
Before thinking about Sustainable Architecture, we should be thinking about the Sustainable Architect – students, academics and professionals, everyone, just ‘we’ as human beings. It is alarming that there are thousands of articles relating to architecture but only a very few relating to setting up a sustainable studio culture or practice. It might sound like general knowledge, but yes, this means thinking about waste, electricity and how much paper we use, what to throw out and what not to. Yes, we like our hot beverages in the mornings, but it’s sad to see a ‘biodegradable’ coffee cup sitting in a recycling bin beside a piece of A4 tracing paper with a tiny shape cut out right from the center of the sheet – it might sound like kindergarten but it’s a shocking sight when you think about all the energy that went into creating that piece of paper or that cup. Making models is a necessary way of testing concepts but how can we make them more sustainably?
Sustainability begins with changing mindsets – if we as humans are not sustainable enough, the designs and buildings we produce will not be sustainable enough. To back this up, a recent article that came out from Architizer written by the Angry Architect speaks truth: “Dear Architects: Stop Using the Word “Sustainability” Until You Know What It Means. The word has fast evolved into an overused buzzword, an all-encompassing term associated with so many aspects of architecture — environmental, social, and economic — that its impact has been diluted beyond recognition.” It is a very useful article that can be found at https://architizer.com/blog/practice/details/sense-and-sustainability/
Coming back to changing attitudes, In a recent lecture here in Dublin, Dorte Mandrup (Danish Architect and Chair of the Mies van der Rohe Award 2019) discussed sustainability during her speech. She concluded the lecture by stating: “we can read, write and talk about sustainability, but we can change very little in our environments as long as our clients and society are not thinking sustainably.” I recommend any of her YouTube lectures and interviews.
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for not entirely succeeding at the very first task and now would also like to urge everyone to reconsider our resources and consumer habits, our wants and needs, to question the way we live and practice architecture, to be more careful about our decisions – because our home is very fragile, and its climate is changing increasingly. If you can, please do bring awareness to it, because it will be too late in 30- or 50-years’ time. I would like to write so much more about the benefits of lunch boxes, having a studio mug, second-hand clothes and sketching ideas on both sides of the pages in a sketchbook, but you probably won’t want to hear from me again.
The following images were taken in our 4th year studio space in TUD in Dublin. It is fair to say that some institutions/offices over the globe, do not have any means of an eco-practice or luxury of recycling etc. But we can get involved! So, please get involved! If you do find medias relating to Sustainable Architect(ure) share it with us.