Article Review by Christy Bryar
Architecture (of the Common Sense) and Sustainability
Author: Mauro Baracco, Architect Victoria, Spring 2010
After a disappointing lack of resolution to come out of the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit ‘Architecture (of the Common Sense) and Sustainability’ is a call to architects to take on the issue of sustainability themselves and engage with it broadly to understand architecture and urban design’s role in finding meaningful solutions. While notions of sustainability are widely discussed and practiced among design professionals it is often centred around the belief that technology will solve all problems. An over reliance on the faith of technology has created a disconnection with instinct and nature. This editorial implores architects to look at sustainability in real terms and go beyond the exercise of simply delivering quantifiables under the Green Star Rating system. To find qualitative solutions architects must expand beyond the limits of architecture and use their skills of multifaceted thinking with common sense to reconnect with nature and community.
The article encourages an approach of broadening research further than the field of architecture. Drawing from what is being achieved in design related fields, other industries and common sense, architects can begin to create a framework of sustainability to test their ideas against.
Notions of sustainability address everything from the smallest to global scale. From simple applications of technology and more natural ways of production and consumption, to large urban moves, population growth and ideas of effecting change to stimulate a cultural shift.
The Spring issue Architect Victoria invited contributors to reflect on a series of conditions for sustainability, with an empathy towards designing solutions that use less resources and space, promote alternatives for absorbing an expanding population, generate food and energy, and encourage cultural shifts away from current unsustainable practices.
Challenges and Opportunities
The need to extend beyond the rhetoric and reliance on technology in practice is the challenge for architects, however the opportunities for creating meaningful and sustained solutions that provide a more connected, humble and satisfying way of living is seemingly endless.
Role of Architecture
Most immediately architecture can play a role through the implementation of revegetating urban and natural territories, reducing unsustainable transport, creating alternative forms of urban and community farming and preferencing the reuse of existing building fabric. On a broader scale architects can employ their unique skill of designing solutions for problems by drawing on multiple fields of knowledge and expand beyond orthodox notions of building architecture to re-think.