Architecture and Sustainability: The Importance of Context

Architecture and Sustainability: The Importance of Context

The global environmental crisis has caused an accelerated search for quick and clear solutions. Within architecture, there have been several projects assuring to provide sustainable universal alternatives: there is nothing less ecological than the idea of a universal prototype. 

Sustainable architecture is much more than the implementation of special technologies. It also involves the preservation of a philosophy that is focused on the positive utilization of environmental conditions during a building’s development and use, as well as its inhabitants’ behavior. 

The differences among each region’s weather, the natural resources that can be obtained in each zone, the diverse geographic conditions, the specific habits of each culture and many other aspects define particularities that must be present in each attempt towards sustainability. It’s important to study, analyze and develop solutions that adapt to these circumstances.

If we think about the complete activity cycle that a building implies, it becomes clear that each step of the process has an environmental impact: The extraction of rocks, minerals and other materials; the water used throughout the process; energy expenses for the development of both materials and equipment; transportation; machinery operation; subsequent energy expenses; maintenance, water and residues that the building’s quotidian use will cause; and even the eventual demolition must be taken in consideration. 

Each building carries an enormous responsibility that, as we face the biggest environmental crisis in history, can no longer be ignored. All of these issues must be addressed by the construction industry, but also by the government’s policies and society’s habits. It’s important to reimagine urban planning, to reconfigure construction processes and to continue searching for sustainable architecture alternatives. YOU MUST READ Is it Possible to Recycle a Building?

  • Kilbert, C.J, Sustainable Construction: Green building design and deliver, London: John Willey and Sons, 2005.
  • Berge, B, The Ecology of Building Materials, Oxford: Architectural Press, 2009
  • Pulaski, M.H., Field Guide for Sustainable Construction, Washington, Pentagon Renovation and Construction Program Office, 2004.

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