Over the last thirty years, it has become clear that the risk associated with climate change will pose serious challenges to society. Architects are constantly presented with the challenge of creating durable buildings that respond to a changing environment. Architects have a major role to play, given the fact that 75 per cent of global energy consumption is produced by buildings and transportation. Buildings, neighbourhoods and cities should be designed to minimise pollution and carbon emissions. This implies not only using renewable energy sources (including wind, sun and water), but designing energy efficient buildings and masterplans that encourage vegetation and biodiversity.
New urban developments need to be designed with the ultimate aim of achieving carbon dioxide neutral environments. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners have explored these strategies in competition schemes for Lu Jia Zui in Shanghai, Parc BIT in Mallorca, Piana di Castello in Florence and the Almada Masterplan in Lisbon.
Working with clients and the public to increase awareness of the benefits of environmental design can help form the basis for a brief, and result in buildings that contribute positively to the city.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners employ an holistic approach to the physical form of each building, from the massing, orientation, and the arrangement of its constituent parts, in order to ensure a responsible approach to the buildings' overall environmental performance.
The practice endeavours to employ technologies that sustain rather than pollute, that are durable rather than replaceable, and that add value over time rather than falling prey to short term economies.
Structure and the conservation of energy play a major role in giving form to our buildings. Speed, cost and energy efficiency often contribute a lightness of structure, transparency and clarity of design. Many projects have been developed that explore to a very high degree the use of alternative sustainable energy solutions. For example, the National Assembly for Wales, Lloyd's Register and the competition for Potsdamer Platz masterplan in Berlin.
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