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Renewable energy systems, including those that harness solar and wind energy, are also great options for some buildings. These systems are often used in conjunction with passive design strategies. Green Building Materials and Finishes. By making it a priority to purchase steel, lumber, concrete, and finishing materials, such as carpet and furnishings, from companies that use environmentally responsible manufacturing techniques or recycled materials, architects up the ante on sustainability.

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Native Landscaping. Landscaping choices can make a big impact in civic building water consumption. By using trees, plants, and grasses that are native to the area, architects can greatly reduce irrigation needs. Landscaping can also be used as part of a passive energy strategy. By planting trees that shade the roof and windows during the hottest time of the day, solar heat gain inside the building can be reduced.

Stormwater Management. However, when a building is placed on the site, along with parking lots, sidewalks, access roads, and other hardscaping, rainfall behaves differently. The water runs off these surfaces and into storm drains. By implementing stormwater management strategies, such as pervious pavement that helps to reduce runoff and retention ponds that capture runoff and slowly release water back into the ground, the negative environmental impact of buildings can be reduced. At HMC Architects, we strive to implement sustainable strategies in all of our public building projects.

Not only is it the responsible thing to do for the planet, but also the results are often used as teaching tools: building occupants and visitors see first-hand how sustainable strategies work. Quail Hill Community Center. Although a small project, the design exemplifies the efficiency that you would see in high-performance architecture. By visiting this website, certain cookies have already been set, which you may delete and block. By closing this message or continuing to use our site, you agree to the use of cookies. Visit our updated privacy and cookie policy to learn more.

This Website Uses Cookies By closing this message or continuing to use our site, you agree to our cookie policy. Learn More This website requires certain cookies to work and uses other cookies to help you have the best experience. Architectural Record logo. Contact: Varonica Galbraith. Authoritative practices considered stakeholders as passive users and assumed a role of design experts, often aiming to manipulate client expectations. The results are presented in terms of attitudes to technology and cooperation expressed by interviewees.

Where participants spoke of adopting mixed approaches, they were categorised through the dominant approach that shaped their practice. Six groups emerged from the data from a possible nine combinations of social and technological approaches. These were not discrete but on a spectrum of possible practice. They tended to favour simple building technologies combined with a design approach that sought to educate and engage clients and users.

The practices were small all were single practitioners with relatively low turnovers. Waste reduction through design that advocated an efficient and simpler way of thinking about building and a connection to place and the natural environment were reoccurring themes. I'm also interested in the architecture of frugality which is, this building we're in is a very crude little shed in many ways. But it was designed around the eight trees that grew here on this site.

Those are the only materials we used to make the structure of this thing. Peter: sole practitioner, Practice E. Design strategies tended to emphasise the use of local materials that did not require significant processing such as timber and rammed earth. Practice E decided to use only found materials on site to minimise transport and building impact. There was an emphasis on engaging clients in the building process; for example, Practice P ran workshops that allowed clients to learn about building with earthen materials.

Passive and simple operational strategies such as thermal mass and openable windows were favoured, combined with encouraging behavioural changes that allowed occupants to adapt to changing environmental conditions. This included simple acts such as wearing more clothes in winter Practice P or manually warming internal environments through stoves running on firewood Practice E.

There was a clear desire for simpler modes of inhabitation, which formed part of a wider narrative that embraced nature and ecology. Fiona: sole practitioner, Practice P. Although this group did not overtly express the Gaianist ideology described by Lovelock , they placed strong emphasis on the natural homeostatic principles of which humans are an integral part.

Practices were small between three and 20 in size. Projects tended to be small scale, predominantly residential but also some small public buildings. I'm really interested in the materiality of things … not full of evil chemicals and things like that. I really like the idea of using natural products for everything. Simon: principal, Practice J.


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Locality remained an important theme, but this was linked to a cultural idea of place rather than a connection to the natural environment. But in part conceptually from the use of locally contextual and appropriate materials.

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The history of brickmaking in that area drives the aesthetic in that locality. Ryan: principal, Practice S. For these practices, using local crafts people and understanding vernacular building techniques emerged as important aspects of design that respected materials and site with the end goal of efficient building processes: We … try to specify things like wood fibre or hemp or straw, and I think that's really come from a background of understanding breathability and things like that and historic buildings. Roberta: architect, Practice I.

In a number of cases, there was an explicit rejection of quantitative measures or sustainability benchmarking procedures: … one of the things in the agenda has always been to slightly steer away from all the badges that one looks for in sustainability, whether it be the original Code for Sustainable Homes or BREEAM whatever it is, it's never been an interest.

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Simon: principal, practice J. Practices were typically medium sized with one smaller practice four staff, 14 staff, 20 staff, and 40 staff. A common theme was an expansion of the architect's role, beyond the design of buildings to economic to social structures or enabling groups to take control of the building process themselves. Christian: principal, Practice C. Sustainability was framed as a social concept, sharing similarities with a constructivist perspective Hannigan, Design strategies emerged from dialogue with communities often transforming client expectations through collaboration at briefing stages.

Charles: principal, Practice L. Participation was often combined with specialist knowledge and specific technologies. They emphasised appropriate sustainable technologies, often questioning the value of particular building upgrades. The clients will vary enormously and so we will, at the earlier stages, have that conversation, try and make sure as much [sustainability] is incorporated as possible. There have been times where it's not necessarily possible to push much further and you've had to accept that you do what you can.

Isabelle: head of sustainability, Practice D. Basically, it's just about talking to people, ensuring that you've understood what they're actually after, and then trying to make sure that the design delivers that and then the building delivers that … It's just about trying to communicate all the way through the chain.

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Philip: partner, Practice X. A common approach was benchmarking design against sustainable standards. Martin: head of sustainability, Practice Q. Many of the architects in this category spoke of an inherent alignment between sustainability and good design: … sustainability has been a pretty good Trojan horse just for better architectures. Thinner floorplates, higher ceilings, heavier structure, they're all good things.

They make buildings that are nicer really. This centrist approach is aligned with the notion of accommodation as described by O'Riordan It relies on institutional adaptation and assessment methods to meet changing environmental demands. They typically adopted a fabric first approach in which the performance of the building was considered primary for the creation of sustainable architecture. Carbon reduction was a major motivating factor.

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Practice U, for example, spoke of an experimental design upgrade to existing housing stock to dramatically reduce emissions. Patrick: senior partner, Practice H. There was a focus on sustainable measures being both holistic and integrated into the building design: I think ultimately the things that really work actually they're where those sustainable design functions are serving the end of the building. It's not something that you can then strip away, it's something that becomes integral to the building and I think that's really our aim.


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Jane: head of sustainability, Practice V. Meeting client aspirations was often at the heart of their working. Design was looked upon as facilitating sustainability through discrete strategies rather than educating for change or emancipatory action. However, an autonomous approach that pursued a sustainable agenda despite perceived client apathy distinguished these practices.

Client pressure is quite often just we want to be seen to be doing well … [the projects] where we were pushing the boundaries were where we were setting the agenda for ourselves, so we were doing our own development work. There was a range of practice sizes 13 staff, 60 staff, and staff , and projects tended to be highly technical buildings with large budgets.