Architecture community in UK declares climate crisis

by | Jul 16, 2019 | News

UK architects have pledged to promote action against climate change

Top UK architects and RIBA declare the climate crisis and biodiversity emergency “the most serious issue of our time” and pledge immediate action

Some of the UK’s best-known architects and practices have answered a call to action on the climate crisis, called Architects Declare, a group and movement which aims to highlight the ways in which the construction sector is affected by and can respond to the climate emergency.

We find out more.

Architects shift gear as response to climate crisis

A number of the UK’s top architectural firms and architects have put their names to a movement called “Architects Declare”, an advocacy and activist group whose mission is to generate awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergency affecting the world, and to encourage a shift in the construction industry towards not only sustainable, but regenerative design practices.

The founding signatories include some of the biggest names in architecture and design, such as David Chipperfield Architects, Foster + Partners, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects.

On the Architects Declare website, the manifesto reads, “For everyone working in the construction industry, meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in our behaviour. Together with our clients, we will need to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system.”

RIBA commits to five-year climate plan

As a signal of a growing movement of climate activism within the construction industry, the UK’s main architectural body, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), has pledged to take action on climate change over the course of five years.

The five year action plan will establish sustainable standards within the industry and try to curb the negative effects construction has on the planet, environment and nature.

RIBA president Ben Derbyshire, said, “The climate emergency is the biggest challenge facing our planet and our profession. But to have a significant impact we need to do more than make symbolic statements – we need to turn warm words into impactful actions. We architects need to transform the way we practice and along with our fellow professionals around the world, make changes that will impact at a global level.”

This attitude is also in line with new policies announced by the government to make the UK carbon neutral by 2050, and the international Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, which promises that all new buildings will be designed carbon-neutral by 2030, to which architects such as Fosters have also signed up.

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