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IHDC Awards and inspiration for architects

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[IHDC Part 3] Many messages for architects emerged from the day

Margaret Reynolds reports

Winner, presented by Lord de Mauley: Nitshill Integrated Green Infrastructure Design Study, 300ha in southwest Glasgow

Team: Neil McLean, Max Hislop, Alistair Corbett, Gillian Black, Rolf Roscher and Kenneth MacDougall (GCV Green Network).

A thorough Geological Information System (GIS) analysis ‘brought together many spatial datasets, including integrated habitat network models for woodland, wetland and grassland habitats.’ From the analysis, area-specific design studies have been developed.



The winner project Nitshill Integrated Green Infrastructure Design Study by GCV Green Network



GCV Green Network’s Masterplan integrates sustainable urban drainage and water management



Highly commended: Soho Green District 2015

Team: Adam Thomas, Amy Kirk, Graham Bailey, Nick Udal and Sprunt Architects.


The highly commented Soho Green District 2015 proposal by Sprunt Architects



The Soho Green District 2015 project incorporates plants in the urban environment to attract wildlife and grow fruits for local consumption

Conference Gold Sponsors:  Green Infrastructure Partnership network supported by DEFRA and DECC.

Some particular messages for architects:

Landscaping adds quantifiable value to projects, it is not an optional extra in the budget; we should be getting broad professional greening advice early on, and learning fundamentals for ourselves:

  • Green roof design, benefits and funding (Bauder has good guidance)
  • Green wall design and benefits, including acoustic
  • Sustainable drainage specification and design
  • Rainwater harvesting integrated into building design
  • Benefit of bee hotels, bat-boxes, bricks and lofts, bird-boxes integrated into building schemes
  • Appropriate integration of trees into the built environment
  • Basic design capabilities of plant materials (deciduous shading, drought resistance, run-off attenuation, visual and acoustic screening, verifiable health benefits)
  • Let’s also include these basics in student training.

Green Infrastructure design guidance is available:

The TCPA guide, mentioned above, includes an Appendix B on GI Design, and this also mentions Exeter City Council’s award-winning (2012 Urban Design Awards) ‘Residential Design Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)’ that ‘details good practice approaches to protecting and enhancing biodiversity value within the built fabric and wider landscape of a residential development.’  Also of course the RESET team.

Architects are ‘trying to clean up our act.’

According to Architecture Professor Susannah Hagan:

  • Architects are typically seen as the ‘enemy’ of soft green designs
  • Architects must learn to design artificial ecosystems based on thorough understanding of natural ecosystems.

To conclude:

The architecture profession must shake an out-dated reputation for ignorance of biodiversity.  Like many aspects of the energy crisis, this is an opportunity that many designers have already embraced (30 attended the conference).  Ecosystem services are no longer a tree-hugger fantasy: Green Infrastructure requirements will be enforced in renewed Local Plans up and down the country.  And not before time.


Should RIBA have an annual sustainability award?

Vote in the AJ poll

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