5 R’s (Reflect, Respond, Respect, Restore, Regenerate)
RESPOND: ARCHITECTURE IS POLITICAL, IT SHAPES PUBLIC AND PRIVATE
In a world of dwindling resources and increasing population, it is impossible to escape the fact that architectural acts are political acts. Allocation — of material and energy — has profound implications on the public welfare and is, therefore, political.
With building operations (heating, cooling, lighting and powering them) producing nearly 40% of Co2 emissions worldwide, our task goes beyond “net-zero” or “carbon neutral.” We must strive for “restorative” architecture: resilient structures that draw carbon from an increasingly unpredictable atmosphere while sheltering us. Each project is an opportunity to innovate and improve. Performance matters and can and should inspire new design idioms.
Beyond our immediate work, we, as Architects, are uniquely suited to have and to exercise opinions about local and national policy. Questions concerning land use, energy, infrastructure, agricultural practice and their implications for environmental justice, equity for native peoples, and climate change are ultimately architectural questions. They concern patterns of settlement and consumption of resources that are fundamental to design and planning thinking. They challenge us to apply our knowledge while at the same time repositioning the architectural problem and the work of architects in general in regards to privilege and inclusion.
Increasingly, legislation, more than design, shapes our world. To practice we must be proactive, visible advocates for: design, our cities, our farmland, natural systems and all people. We have collectively been educated to materialize ideas that exist in real physical settings, so we have a keen understanding of the relationship between the standard of living and the raw materials that go into it.
Now more than being designers and planners, we are resource allocators. We are entrusted with the responsibility for careful application in the creation of living, productive environments.