Launched last May, the unprecedented rallying cry by some of the industry’s biggest names called on the profession to take urgent action against the ‘twin crises’ of climate change and biodiversity loss.
The movement was founded by 17 previous winners of the RIBA Stirling Prize, including Foster + Partners, ZHA and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, who joined together to demand practices across the UK unite by declaring a ‘climate emergency’.
Since then more than 900 architects and practices have pledged to abide by the movement’s 11 far-reaching pledges, ranging from sharing knowledge on climate mitigation to adopting more regenerative design principles.
Similar initiatives have now been set up in 22 countries, including the USA and Finland, across five continents.
In recent months there have been several controversies over projects by founding signatories which observers say are incompatible with the promises made by Architects Declare.
However, according to its founders – who include Steve Tompkins of Haworth Tompkins and Michael Pawlyn of Exploration Architecture – Architects Declare is ’about encouragement’ with ’every signatory expected to self-govern its progress toward achieving the commitments it has made’.
A spokesperson added: ‘On the basis that no single architect is currently meeting every part of the radical commitment to change, a firm “no public blame and shame” policy is in place.’
So what impact has Architects Declare actually had? What more could it do to influence the way profession tackles the climate emergency? And, after its first 12 months, how should Architects Declare evolve?
The survey should take you no longer than five minutes to complete. The results will be published in mid-June.
Click here to take the survey
The Architects Declare pledges/11-point action plan
● Raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the urgent need for action amongst our clients and supply chains.
● Advocate for faster change in our industry towards regenerative design practices and a higher governmental funding priority to support this.
● Establish climate and biodiversity mitigation principles as the key measure of our industry’s success: demonstrated through awards, prizes and listings.
● Share knowledge and research to that end on an open source basis.
● Evaluate all new projects against the aspiration to contribute positively to mitigating climate breakdown, and encourage our clients to adopt this approach.
● Upgrade existing buildings for extended use as a more carbon-efficient alternative to demolition and new build whenever there is a viable choice.
● Include life cycle costing, whole-life carbon modelling and post-occupancy evaluation as part of our basic scope of work, to reduce both embodied and operational resource use.
● Adopt more regenerative design principles in our studios, with the aim of designing architecture and urbanism that goes beyond the standard of net zero carbon in use.
● Collaborate with engineers, contractors and clients to further reduce construction waste.
● Accelerate the shift to low embodied carbon materials in all our work.
● Minimise wasteful use of resources in architecture and urban planning, both in quantum and in detail.
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