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Creating cool space

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The AJ's 'Cool Space'conference at the RIBA will take a long, hard look at the way architects can design realistic buildings that are genuinely sustainable

When RIBA presidential candidate Brian Godfrey was quoted in the AJas saying 'pollution is a governmental issue' (AJ 26.10.00) he prompted an outraged response. So ingrained is the assumption that architecture should encompass environmental concerns, that it is positively subversive to attempt to delineate the architect's role. But in the rush to profess allegiance to the great green cause, there is a tendency to assume that good intentions - along with the occasional turf roof - are a substitute for innovation, understanding and research. The Architects' Journal is holding a one-day conference, chaired by Tim Battle of Rybka Battle, with the aim of taking a long, cool look at the current status of sustainable design.Aimed at architects, engineers and clients, it promises to offer a realistic assessment of the way in which the construction industry can - and should - address environmental concerns.

British Council of Offices (BCO) president Chris Strickland will present the BCO 2000 Guide to Best Practice in the Specification for Offices (to be found at www.constructionplus.co.uk).

The guide addresses the fact that buildings are directly responsible for approximately 50 per cent of CO 2emissions, and indirectly for another 25 per cent through transport and materials manufacturing. It gives key source information for the procurement of sustainable commercial office space.

In the European Union there is an increasing emphasis on the part that the emission of greenhouse gases plays in global warming.

Representatives from Oscar Faber, ICI and BRECSUwill examine the implications of the introduction of a carbon tax, and discuss revisions to Part L of the Building Regulations which are due to be published later in the year.

Portcullis House is one of the buildings which will be discussed by Bill Taylor of Hopkins & Partners and Chris Twinn of Arup in their review of an approach to sustainable design which has evolved from the Inland Revenue Headquarters at Nottingham to the Jubilee Campus at Nottingham University. Issues include the use of thermal mass, the importance of training workplace users, and the need to monitor and tune performance on an ongoing basis.

Wessex Water Operations Centre Headquarters is the most recent addition to Bennetts Associates'portfolio of high-profile, environmentally friendly buildings. Rab Bennetts will present his work, arguing that new approaches to material procurement and product assembly are essential if sustainable buildings are to be achieved at an acceptable cost.

Speakers from Sheppard Robson, Rybka Battle and Silverdal will look at centres of technological excellence in Europe including Stockholm Environmental Science Park.

When fully developed the park will accommodate 3,500 researchers, technicians and entrepreneurs in buildings designed to test the principles of passive energy.

Patrick Bellew of Atelier 10 will demonstrate how the labyrinth strategy used at Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia, exploits diurnal temperature variations to maximize the effect of 'free' cooling.

Currently under construction, the building is due for completion this year.

Bob Dalziel of Geoffrey Reid & Associates will join forces with Paul Fletcher of Teamwork 2000, which is an initiative to achieve the full potential of collaborative holistic design models. They will look at the way in which early decisions on criteria such as shape, appearance and capital cost can be considered with key whole-life performance criteria such as comfort, embodied energy cost and component integration.

Guy Battle of Battle McCarthy will look at the energy strategies which are emerging in the USwhich, despite having only 5 per cent of the world's population, is responsible for more than 25 per cent of global CO 2production. Having tended to rely on tried-andtested lowest-cost solutions, the US is beginning to wake up to environmental concerns.

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