Current Board member and

AGDF Immediate Past President Mark Thomson, recently returned from Europe where he judged a segment in the World Architecture Festival and was impressed with the standard of sustainable design implementation underway around the world.  While he was in the area, he also swung by Geneva and gave two presentations to the PEFC General Assembly – all in a (few) days work!

The trip gave Mark the change to study firsthand how sustainability is approached in Europe and, considered the (stark) contrast to Australian attitudes to sustainability. ”There was a visible community concern for environmental issues with corresponding daily lifestyle responses, particularly in urban areas” he said.

In an interview for The Fifth Estate, Mark mentioned how the many wind and solar farms as well as the variety of electric vehicles, stood out to him as reminders of just how far ahead Europe is in the uptake of renewable energy – which is really only just beginning in Australia.

Of course, Mark’s attention was largely captured by what was happening in his own field, where he again noted a gap between Europe & Australia. “What surprised me most was the sustainability entrenched in the architectural projects I saw at the World Architecture Festival. I know most Australian Architects say sustainability is embedded in everything they do,” Mark told The Fifth Estate, but in Europe he saw a “depth of sustainability fully integrated in projects, major and minor.” Many “Energy plus” buildings were presented, along with projects supporting social sustainability implementation.


The full article can be read at