August 18, 2014

Ecology + Resources


Increased transparency into the complex systems behind buildings, including material impact datasets, are now more available than ever to the profession, consequently establishing architect as carbon accountant. As our access to information increases, so does our ability to make smarter choices in support of responsible manufacturing, extended material lifespans, and maximization of our limited resources.

Designing, constructing, and operating a building all consume significant resources along that building’s protracted life-cycle. Beginning with material extraction and ending at landfill contribution, each stage in a building’s life-cycle impacts the communities, economies, and ecologies that sustain the building industry. If we adopt the brilliant “Powers of Ten” perspective, conceived by Charles and Ray Eames, we more clearly understand that the body, building, community, city, region, and world are each distinct but also deeply connected through a looping interdependent network. We are reminded that nothing exists in linear isolation.

In every project, we strive to restore the environment rather than degrade it. These efforts range from the self-generation of energy, the upcycling of materials that would otherwise become waste, resilient planning that reduces the need for reconstruction, and the preservation of existing building stock, which limits virgin material generation. In addition, we uphold the potential of architecture to inspire an attitude of conscious consumption, extending these benefits beyond the site and into society.

In exploring Ecology + Resources, we will delve into questions like:
+ Can buildings be designed to operate in ways that use our resources more efficiently, and more responsibly overall?
+ How can architecture produce and reinforce responsible behavior over the long-term?
+ Can TRA$H be revalued?