There's still a lot of lazily claiming concrete has high embodied energy here (inaccurately). I applaud Zaha for actually designing facades with openings in walls. It is fully glazed, laminated curtain walling systems that have huge embodied energy, cant be recycled and are full or rare and toxic materials.
The big problem with Zaha's designs is her enormous ego and the resulting complete lack of flexibility or even usability of some buildings
I absolutely agree that the phrase "eco-zeitgeist" is ridiculous shock jock kind of journalism, designed to illicit a response. This article has very little if any academic merit. Chopping down ancient woodlands? slowly killing beech trees in a heavily air conditioned gallery (with their root systems completely destroyed to fit in tiny boxes). All this does is point out that the leaders of our publishing businesses and big practices are hopelessly out of date and their positions as leaders have become unsustainable.
Our industry is slowly becoming science and evidence based and these old school charlatans wont be able to keep bullshitting forever.
Comment on: RIBA blasted after hosting oil industry event
perhaps it is time to really prove the commitment by selling off that ridiculous, inefficient palace opposite the Chinese embassy and building a carbon neutral new headquarters somewhere that needs an economic boost? Or perhaps we should all just give up on the RIBA and leave them to represent millionaires while the majority of the profession starts an actual functional union!
but what should they actually be doing? I think the overly vague title of sustainability is itself a problem, we should have solid zero carbon plans with dates and milestones. We should stop muddying the water by including health and other aspects and be clear if we are protecting our health, the health of local ecologies, or the health of the planet at large. if it isnt measured and scientific it wont be done, maybe the next awards should actually be based on measurements...
Unfortunately the author misunderstands both the commitments made, and some of the solutions to the climate debate. There is a worrying lack of knowledge on sustainability throughout the whole of the construction industry.
Fosters have signed up to their portfolio of property being carbon neutral, essentially meaningless as I think they own one building, and they have only signed up to this being carbon neutral by 2050 (when Norman will be 115). The UKGBC's Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment is designed for developers, which is why they were the first architects to sign up, and the architects involved in writing the commitment didn't sign up! As an industry we deserve better than this green wash, we need real leadership from those at the top of our profession.
Really the only statement holding architects to account is this one:
"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"
The problem materials are really glass, plastics and metal sheeting. Especially when these materials are anodised or laminated together and cant be recycled. As many people have also pointed out there are many benefits to the use of concrete, and it is one of the lowest embodied carbon options.
If we properly educate ourselves about Whole Life Carbon then it will provide a route to solving all the problems mentioned above. The UK is hosting the next climate summit in 2020, now is the chance for British architecture firms to show leadership to the rest of the world and profit from the inevitable change sin the global economy.