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Why ‘Go Green’ in Architecture?

Architecture takes the shape of ‘sustainable architecture’ when the architects involved use only environmentally friendly techniques

"Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction." – Dr Edward O. Wilson

To think sustainable is the need of the hour. We have been consuming for a million years without making much efforts to give back or replenishing the finite resources. While efforts of identifying alternate sources of energy and actively using them in our daily lives should have been a practice adopted since long, at least we are awakening. Almost every segment of human life is getting directed towards working more sustainably so that our future generations are able to lead a good life.

Living spaces form the basis of human existence and thus it is necessary to bring in sustainability in architecture and design. The concept of ‘green building, which emerged in the 1960s and 70s’ is catching up fast. Sustainable architecture has become one of the fastest-growing architecture trends in today’s eco-conscious world.

So, what exactly is Sustainable Architecture?

"The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them." - Paul Hawken

Architecture takes the shape of ‘sustainable architecture’ when the architects involved use only environmentally friendly techniques and use natural and renewable resources such as concrete, harvested wood and rock as well as recycled materials like glass and lumber during the building process. These buildings may also reuse architectural components of other buildings such as doors, windows and flooring. The building so designed also largely focus on efficient energy consumption and development space.

Efficient energy consumption in sustainable architecture is achieved by providing insulation and using shades and awnings. As these keep the building cool, the energy consumption levels automatically reduce.  Sustainable or green buildings often rely heavily on alternative energy sources like solar energy. As defined by the World Green Building Council, the features that mainly define a green building include efficient use of energy, water and other resources, use of renewable energy, such as solar energy, Pollution and waste reduction measures, and the enabling of re-use and recycling, good indoor environmental air quality, use of materials that are non-toxic, ethical and sustainable, consideration of the environment in design, construction and operation, consideration of the quality of life of occupants in design, construction and operation and design that enables adaptation to a changing environment.

Who is leading the way?

Though the concept of sustainable architecture has been gaining momentum recently, many refute that the concept is not new. How can we forget the famous Roman aqueducts, many of which are still in use. Those gravity-driven structures not only distributed water and took away waste, but provided renewable water power for mines, forges and mills. Greeks also began positioning buildings and even entire cities to catch the sun's rays when they began running low on fuel sources.

Globally, the architects who are known to have created a mark in the domain of sustainable architecture are Ken Yeang, Frank Lloyd Wright, Renzo Piano, Glenn Murcutt, William McDonough, William McDonough, Thom Mayne, R. Buckminster Fuller, Norman Foster of Foster + Partners and Peter Busby of Perkins + Will. They can be easily considered leading green architects of the world.

India is also taking big steps in bringing in sustainability in its designs. Notable architectural firms like Space Design Consultants, Made in Earth, Hunnarshala Foundation, Trupti Doshi Architect – Puducherry, Thannal Hand Sculpted Homes – Tiruvannamalai, Benny Kuriakose – Chennai, Dustudio – Auroville, Eugene Pandala – Kollam, Mozaic – Goa, Kamath Design Studio – Delhi, Dharmalaya – Didi Contractor (Know about them more in the March 2018 issue of Surfaces Reporter), Biome Environmental Solutions, Footprints E.A.R.T.H, SHiFt and Ashok B Lall Architects are playing an active role in developing eco-friendly buildings which can help us in leaving lesser carbon footprints.

The greatest benefit of sustainable architecture is that while you are not only contributing towards the protection of the environment, you are bringing new elements of design into your work. Style gets a new definition when natural materials are used in the structures. Whether you call it sustainable architecture, green design, eco-design or arcology, this is where the future lies; it is a necessity now. As Alex Steffen, shares, “The planet's biggest problems have to do with sustainability, environmental decline, global poverty, disease, conflict and so forth. Really, they're all interconnected - it's one big problem, which is why the way we're doing things can't go on.”

About Surfaces Reporter

Surfaces Reporter is India’s 1st magazine specialized on “products & materials” for architecture & Interiors! The prime objective of Surfaces Reporter magazine is to contribute positively to the Indian material industry, with unbiased information & awareness initiatives.

Surfaces Reporter magazine has a clear & niche target group comprising of Architects, Engineers, Builders, Interior Designers, Manufacturers, Celebrities, Showrooms, Consultancy firms, and Leading Business houses, Hotels & Restaurants, and PMCs etc. If you have a Product or Project worth publishing in Surfaces Reporter, please email us or you can also submit your project online.

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