Hassell in Asia joins Architects Declare Climate and Biodiversity Emergency response

Georgina Johnston
30 Jan 2020

Hassell becomes the first and founding Asian member to launch the UK petition to bring the Asian architectural industry together on climate issues

The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issues of our time. Buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy related carbon dioxide emissions whilst also having a significant impact on the world’s natural habitats.

For everyone working in the construction industry, meeting the needs of society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in the industry’s behaviour. Partnering with clients, it is an ambition to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system.

The research and technology currently exist to begin that transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will. Recognising this, the architectural community are committing to strengthen their working practices to create architecture and urbanism that has a more positive impact on the world.

The petition aspires to:

  • Raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the urgent need for action amongst clients and supply chains.

  • Advocate for faster change in the 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 the 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 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 work.

  • Minimise wasteful use of resources in architecture and urban planning, both in quantum and in detail.

The Declaration is a global initiative that is fast gaining support; although Singapore is somewhat protected by its equatorial location and its “City in a Garden” policies, it has been experiencing the effects of climate change with increased periods of drought and rising temperatures. 

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