A small group of UK and Australian architects are putting sustainability in architecture first and urging others to do the same.  Their innovative approaches shows that architects and everyone else involved in making buildings can create work with as little environmental impact as possible.

Architects Declare launched earlier this year in the UK, proclaiming a set of sustainable principles for architects to adopt.  They argue that architects have to consider everything from how far stone might have to travel from quarry to site to whether or not a building’s components will end up as landfill when it is demolished.  “Together with our clients, we will need to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system,” they state on their website.

UK based Interrobang architecture and engineering has put sustainability first by designing a new community market with no concrete foundations.  Due to open next year in Ilford, East London the market has a timber structure stabilised by rocks in metal cages that can be demounted and reassembled with minimal waste or impact.

Barangaroo, a large scale commercial development in Sydney has taken an alternative and award winning approach.  It tries to modify conventional processes rather than replace them by reducing the amount of cement in concrete, or using water from an adjoining bay to help cool the towers of homes and offices.

External agencies, contractors and organisations at Barangaroo are required to manage their activities with a view to achieving sustainability goals, with initiatives including:

  • Every building has contracted annual targets for operational greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reducing construction waste going into landfill by 97%, by sorting and separating waste and recycling or reusing
  • Planting 100% native plants in Barangaroo Reserve
  • Using recycled water for flushing toilets through to irrigation and fire sprinklers
  • Encouraging retailers and suppliers to avoid packaging, reduce waste and offer healthy food choices from locally and sustainably produced food
  • Providing and promoting access to and facilities for walking, cycling and passive and active recreation through design for active living and healthy lifestyles.

Image credit: Barangaroo