This is an inspiring call to action by Duncan with important ideas that we can adopt individually and at a wider community level. I love the concept of 'mining the Anthropocene'. Duncan points to the futuristic deconstruction and re-use work of RotorDC in Belgium (see rotordc.com and the parent organisation, rotorb.org). Could RIBA promote this idea at government and regional level; advocating support for a UK version of RotorDC? Perhaps the Mayor of London or Bristol or Manchester for example could be supported or persuaded to create an equivalent organisation as a meaningful way of addressing the climate emergency? And yes, even with a UK RotorDC, we should all be strongly advocating retrofit; only destroying existing buildings as a last resort, and trying to demonstrate the case for retrofit to our clients – in particular to avoid destroying the precious concrete foundations and frames that already exist. The Paris tower block retrofit is inspiring, as is Duncan's own project on the south downs. If you agree, please sign Harry Paticas’ petition to government to remove the VAT tax from retrofit since this tax just fuels demolition by skewing the financial advantage of VAT-free new-build. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/264073
‘Murphy’ has made some good points about population, species and the excessive use of road vehicles I think, and has made responsible personal choices with no-flying and little-meat policies etc - but like most people doesn’t seem to fully appreciate the enormous energy cuts that can be achieved by wholesale efficiency improvements. Yes this still leaves food, population and biodiversity problems etc, and implementation of deep efficiency measures across all sectors is a gigantic task, but given the current human population level, it’s something we must do if we and most of life on Earth is to survive. Murphy I think you actually share a lot with the protesting youngsters so I wish you’d stop kicking out at them. If the older generations would only create the right conditions, I believe they’re ready to knuckle down and passionately do the job that oldies have generally failed to do!
Great piece, Will. Jasmine and James, massive respect; Julia too. Steve and Michael, I’d be pleased to help your initiative if I could be of use. Will you mention comments from ‘Murphy’. I suspect it’s a bot. Do a search and you’ll find daft and nasty comments all over the AJ website that don’t seem to come from any human being hiding behind the name ‘Murphy’.
Tom, I have massive respect for you. Try not to be upset by the trolls that seem to have infiltrated even this professional space! What you did, and the stance you were prepared to take, seem to have contributed to a sudden and massive change in public opinion and awareness. I think we are witnessing the end of the dominant complacency. We are privileged to live in a rich country like the UK and with this comes responsibilities, not least of which is to act now to remedy 300 years of being a dominant polluter. You stand on the right side of history.
I'm sorry to have to say that I am appalled at the complacency of Ben Derbyshire's response and most of the others who have commented. Bill Bordass is trying to wake architects up to their professional responsibility to carry out careful checks on the performance of their buildings to ensure they aren't destructive of this precious planet, and the response is basically 'well I care so little that I'm not going to recognise that I have a duty of care to carry out these checks myself. I'll take my money and run.' Sorry but that way of thinking is unworthy of someone with all the privileges that go with being a professional in a rich and highly polluting country that owes a lot for the consequences of 300 years of damage.