google-site-verification=CfJtbRC8kTxz5yn3ydC6ap6KHYxUfkJTXaynVKckmGg Architects Environmental Sustainability | gantier

0. Abstract

ABSTRACT

The Impact Of Environmental Sustainability On The Role Of The Architect

The impact of global warming, climate change and depleting natural resources has

been the focus of recent media attention. Society is now realising that how we live

our lives, the things we create, and fundamentally the buildings we design, have a

major impact upon the environment.1 Statistics show that buildings consume about

30 percent of our planet’s energy and 40 percent of its raw materials, placing heavy

demands on our natural resources and contributing massively to the carbon

dioxide emissions which threaten the future of our planet.2

Although the construction industry as a whole carries this responsibility, architects

have a unique opportunity to educate society and demonstrate their commitment

and leadership through the buildings they design. This dissertation questions the

impact of society’s current fascination with sustainability upon the role of the

architect. Through illustrating the leading role of ‘the first practitioners of

architecture’, we examine the present role played by architects in society and

highlight some emerging challenges facing the profession.

Current concerns in environmental change have led to ‘technical’ additions to new

and existing buildings in a ‘quick-fix’ effort to reduce energy consumption,

supported by government sustainability initiatives, with little consideration for

design integrity. We examine the value of this approach and consider the

ramifications of various approaches to sustainable design.

This dissertation clarifies the architect’s key role as a leader, educator and

integrator within society. The profession must combine proven architectural

sustainable solutions with ongoing technical innovation from the outset of the

design process, to provide building design appropriate to our present and future

needs. Furthermore, it identifies the need for improved management practices and

continuing education, and emphasises the importance of architects applying

sustainable design methods in practicing their emerging role.

1 Edwards, B. Green buildings pay. London, E & FN Spon, 1998, pp. xi

2 Karol, Dr.E. ‘Future Focus’, In: WA’s Best Homes; Architects, Builders & Designers 2007. pg 47-55. Perth. 2007.

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 4

0-1 Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT .................................................................................................................. 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS ............................................................................................... 4

DISSERTATION MAIN TEXT........................................................................................ 5

Introduction ................................................................................................................. 5

1. The Current Debate Concerning Environmental Sustainability........................... 7

1.1 The Concern of Environmental Sustainability ..............................................7

1.2 Finite Resources ..........................................................................................7

1.3 Link To Architects.........................................................................................8

1.4 What is Sustainability? .................................................................................9

1.5 The Construction Industry and Sustainability ............................................10

2. The Role of the Architect....................................................................................... 12

2.1 Defining The Term ‘Architect’.....................................................................12

2.2 Architects’ Role In History..........................................................................12

2.3 Ancient Egypt And Greece ........................................................................14

2.4 Architects Shaped By Institution ................................................................15

2.5 Transition To The Architect Of Today ........................................................16

2.6 Architecture As A ‘Slow Craft’ ....................................................................17

2.7 Louis Kahn - Monumental and Sustainable Architecture ..........................18

2.8 How was Kahn Sustainable? .....................................................................19

3. The Impact of Environmental Sustainability on the Role of the Architect............. 22

3.1 The contemporary architects role ..............................................................22

3.2 The Certification Of Sustainability ..............................................................26

3.3 The Effect of Sustainability on the ‘Artist-Type Architect’. .........................27

3.4 Education Of Architects .............................................................................29

Teaching Clients, Teaching Society, Teaching Architects....................................29

3.5 Specialization .............................................................................................32

3.6 Perception of Threats to Profession ..........................................................33

4. How Architects Can Implement Their Responsibility............................................ 37

4.1 Process & Method.........................................................................................37

4.2 Integration of Architectural Applications of Environmentally Sustainable

Design ...................................................................................................................40

4.3 Technology & Integration...........................................................................43

Conclusion................................................................................................................. 46

BIBLIOGRAPHY......................................................................................................... 48

List of Illustrations..................................................................................................53

APPENDECIES.......................................................................................................... 55

Appendix 1 – BCA Incorporation of ‘Energy Efficiency’ in house design.............56

Appendix 2 - The Kyoto Protocol ..........................................................................57

Appendix 3 - Louis Kahn Case Study ...................................................................58

Louis Kahn’s Dacca ..........................................................................................60

Appendix 4 – Professional Practice Regulations ..................................................62

Appendix 5 – Cottesloe Hamersley House...........................................................63

Appendix 6 – Questionnaire Results & Summary.................................................64

Appendix 7 – Carbon Cops Episode Summary....................................................67

Appendix 8 – Sustainable Precedent Timeline .....................................................68

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 5

1. Introduction

The Impact Of Environmental Sustainability On The Role Of The Architect

Introduction

Through their varied responsibilities, architects continually carry concerns over

litigation, meeting budgets, and the response to their work from clients, the general

public, and their professional peers. These concerns are now expanding. The United

Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972 drew attention to the

impact of the construction industry as a whole and the role that architects might play

in helping sustain our existence on earth through better building design3.

From recent international media coverage of the global environment there is

abundant evidence to support the argument that, “We humans have caused more

adverse atmospheric change in the past 100 years than the previous 1,000, and the

rate of change is exponentially accelerating”4. As a result, popular opinion is swinging

dramatically in favour of sustainable change to combat the problem, which, in turn, is

now influencing government policy on the issue.5 Architects are not quarantined from

this trend6. Creating an environmentally sustainable product has become the new

ethos of society and as responsible professionals, the pressure is now being placed

on architects to respond and take up the challenge.

This dissertation accepts the evidence that humans are substantially contributing to

global warming, and investigates the architect’s role in developing a more

sustainable human existence.7 This role encompasses the responsibilities of

architects, both in contributing to the problem historically and their response through

more appropriate design. Important outcomes of this process might be society’s

changing perception of the architect’s role, and how cyclically, in turn, the problem

shapes the role of architecture as a client service profession.

 

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3 Edwards, B & Hyett, P. Rough guide to sustainability. London, RIBA, 2001. pp 5

4 Carbon Cops: Episode 4 - The Bettenay and Fletcher Families. Aired on ABC TV Tuesday the 17th July at 8.00pm,

Melbourne, a December-Films and Fremantle-Media Australia production.

5 Gore, A. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. Emmaus,

Rodale, 2006.

6 Refer to appendix 6 – Questionnaire Results Summary

7 Roaf, S & David, C. Adapting buildings and cities for climate change: a 21st century survival guide. Burlington, Architectural Press, 2005.pp. vii-ix, 1-6

Architects are asked to reach an understanding of their impact on the earth and

accept that they may need to make changes to the way they design. As the

consequences of environmental damage escalate in intensity, architects who

continue to support obsolete paradigms, whether through client pressure or their

own obstinacy, are, by default, contributing to the problem and obstructing progress.

Significant acceleration in the erosion of our global environment demands an equally

significant and timely response.

The key purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the role of the architect in

responding to the current environmental challenge through better building design. It

is intended that this document might assist architects, clients and the broader

society, to gain a better understanding of the role of the architect in today’s context.

This covers their responsibilities in taking action through design to mitigate the

environmental consequences of global warming and climate change, and make a

positive contribution towards a more sustainable future existence.

8 Self-interpretation of Cybernetic theory - illustrating the relationship between the architects role and concerns of society.

1-1 The Current Debate Concerning Environmental Sustainability

1. The Current Debate Concerning Environmental Sustainability

1.1 The Concern of Environmental Sustainability

The major rise in world population in the Post-WWII era combined with a marked

increase in affluence, with its associated demand for increasing volumes of

manufactured consumer products, has wrought havoc with our environment.9 While

climate change has been a constant factor in the earth’s long history, it is generally

accepted that human activity is now significantly intervening in this process with

predictable, negative consequences for future generations. The crucial imbalance is

caused primarily through the production of excessive amounts of carbon dioxide

which break down the earth’s atmosphere, contributing to ozone depletion, and

creating a filter over the planet that traps heat in, rather than reflecting it back into

space.10 Over the past three decades the resultant global warming has drastically

modified our climates, causing drought, melting ice-caps and rising water levels.

1-2 Finite Resources

environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 7

1. The Current Debate Concerning Environmental Sustainability

1.1 The Concern of Environmental Sustainability

The major rise in world population in the Post-WWII era combined with a marked

increase in affluence, with its associated demand for increasing volumes of

manufactured consumer products, has wrought havoc with our environment.9 While

climate change has been a constant factor in the earth’s long history, it is generally

accepted that human activity is now significantly intervening in this process with

predictable, negative consequences for future generations. The crucial imbalance is

caused primarily through the production of excessive amounts of carbon dioxide

which break down the earth’s atmosphere, contributing to ozone depletion, and

creating a filter over the planet that traps heat in, rather than reflecting it back into

space.10 Over the past three decades the resultant global warming has drastically

modified our climates, causing drought, melting ice-caps and rising water levels.

Human Impacts and Climate Change 11

1.2 Finite Resources

In association with this phenomenon, industrialists across the globe are consuming

vast amounts of natural, finite resources ranging from key minerals and energy

sources such as oil, to staples such as water and timber.12 This is also having a

major impact on our environment, the cost of which is only now being recognized as

we contemplate a very real threat to the existence of generations to come. The

9Edwards, B & Hyett, P. Rough guide to sustainability. London, RIBA, 2001. pp. 21-24

10 Gore, A. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. Emmaus, Rodale,

2006 pp. 26-28

11 Gore, A. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. Emmaus, Rodale,

2006 pp. 24, 80, 90

12 Roaf, S & David, C. Adapting buildings and cities for climate change: a 21st century survival guide. Burlington, Architectural

Press, 2005.pp. vii-ix, 1-6

increase in power and resources used to create new products, transport them, and

run them, is in direct correlation to the increase in carbon production.13 These factors

make up what is known as ‘embodied energy’; essentially the total energy required

to extract, process, transport, and assemble a material or resource.

1-3 Link To Architects

A large portion of carbon production comes directly from power production, leading

to an increased focus on reducing power consumption in the work place and

home.14 More efficient appliances and fittings are the main target of advertising

campaigns, encouraging clients and consumers to contribute to sustainability at a

‘quick-fix’, micro level. However, architects, along with engineers, urban planners and

other specialists are now presented with the opportunity to correct past mistakes and

contribute to sustainability at a macro level. Although industrialization is a root cause

of the current dilemma, we should not lose sight of its enormous benefits such as

new manufactured materials and ground-breaking technologies that can enable

architects to design structures that previously could only be imagined. In this manner

the problem that presents itself contains within it the seeds of its own solution. By

responding in a truly innovative fashion and ensuring that the design process

properly reflects the new demands of our changed circumstances, architects can

make a major contribution to ensuring civilization’s future

A significant problem emerging in the profession is its complexity. As the role of

architects and their scope of services expand to meet new social, environmental,

professional, legal and regulatory concerns, the design and construction processes,

often slow, threaten to become over-lengthy and unmanageable, risking even greater

legal exposure. Indeed, architects often work within a legal framework which focuses

on their responsibilities, without clearly defining the scope of their influence and

control. The response has been for architectural services to fragment into new

specializations, which in turn can evolve into new service industries in their own right.

There are now consultants for lighting, acoustics, material selection, project

management, quantity surveying, historical renovations, multiple engineering

13 Steele, J. Ecological Architecture: A critical history. London, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2005 pp. 7

14 Sustainable Energy Development Office, Government of Western Australia. http://www1.sedo.energy.wa.gov.au/ July 2007.

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 9

disciplines, cultural issues, ecological impacts, and most recently, environmental

sustainability.15 The risk is that many designers omit environmentally sustainable

considerations from initial designs, only to subsequently engage consultants to fix

the problems created.16 This practice of introducing specialist advice only late in the

design process, produces sub-optimal results, such as the technical ‘add-ons’ which

can undermine the integrity of the original design. This situation, where ‘the right

hand does not know what the left hand is doing’, is not unique to the architectural

profession, and tends to produce inefficient and ineffective outcomes.17 This

challenge, common to many professions, demands innovative management,

encouraging creative participation through all facets of the design process.

1-4 What is Sustainability?

1.4 What is Sustainability?

Sustainability was defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, through references as

early as 1611, as capable of being ‘endured; upheld; bearable; or maintained.’18 The

key meaning here is “maintained” which embodies the notion of protection from

harm, decay, loss, or destruction. Sustainability, sustainable, and similar terms are

overused in a variety of forums. Most commonly they are used to discuss social,

environmental, economic, cultural or political sustainability. In architecture, social

sustainability encompasses universal and purposeful design, and dealing with safety

and security to meet the needs of future society. Architectural applications of

economic sustainability are not only restricted to cost efficiency now, but over the

lifespan of the project. The United Nations Brundtland Environment Commission

(1987) defined sustainable development as, “development that meets the needs of

the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own

needs.”19

When sustainability is referred to in this dissertation it is in the context of

environmental sustainability; the sustainability of the environment. That is, “the

objects or the region surrounding anything. Especially the conditions under which any

15 Stace, S. 2007, The ABC of Practice: Architect, Brief & Client. lecture notes distributed in Professional Practice ARCT 5560 at

the University of Western Australia, Crawley on 28 March 2007

16 Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007. pp. 3-4

17 Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007. pp. 3-4

18 Term; ‘Sustainability’, Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford; 2007.

19Edwards, B & Hyett, P. Rough guide to sustainability. London, RIBA, 2001. pp. 7-8

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 10

person or thing lives, or is developed; the sum-total of influences which modify and

determine the development of life or character.”20 It is in this way the term is not only

restricted to that which is ‘green’, as interpreted by many; rather it refers to the total

surroundings of where we live, planet Earth.

The terms ‘sustainable’ and ‘green” are often used synonymously. A ‘green’ design

will be energy, water and resource efficient. It will address impacts on the

environment.21 ‘Green’ design elements and application contribute to a ‘sustainable’

design. A sustainable design seeks equilibrium, where the environmental

consumption and contribution are in balance.

In searching for a more sustainable existence today, we seek both to reduce the

depletion of finite resources and, where possible, contribute to them. Society can

substantially decrease the production of carbon gases and pollutants by controlling

industry, manufacturing and power production. This entails the development of

sustainable-efficient transportation, products, buildings and behaviours. In achieving

environmentally sustainable architecture, architects must consider the efficiency of

construction, resources, materials, and transportation, and divide them by the

predicted life span of design.

1-5 The Construction Industry and Sustainability

1.5 The Construction Industry and Sustainability

Statistics indicate that buildings consume about 30 percent of our planet’s energy

and 40 percent of its raw materials. The construction industry alone is responsible for

more than 50% of carbon emissions, placing heavy demands on our natural

resources and substantial responsibilities on this manufacturing chain.22 Current

concerns in environmental change have led to ‘technical’ additions to new and

existing buildings in a ‘quick-fix’ effort to reduce energy consumption and comply

with new BCA legislation. 23 Retro-fitting can produce unsightly additions which tend

to undermine a building’s aesthetic appeal and its holistic design. The architectural

challenge today is to design for survival, by integrating environmental design

20 Term; ‘ Environmental Sustainability’, Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford; 2007.

21 Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007. pp. 4

22 Karol, Dr.E. ‘Future Focus’, In: WA’s Best Homes; Architects, Builders & Designers 2007.. Perth. 2007. pg 47-55

23 Commonwealth, States and Territories of Australia. ‘BCA assessment methods’ In: Energy efficiency introductory

awareness training. Australian Building Codes Board, 2003. (See Appendix 1)

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 11

principles with technical innovation to produce superior design. This highlights the

architect’s responsibility as integrator in creating a more sustainable environment.

2. The Role of the Architect

“We cannot and must not forget that we who are architects are practitioners of ‘The

Mistress Art’, and members of the oldest and noblest professions of the world”24

Throughout the history of the architectural profession, social environments have

continually changed as lifestyles, knowledge-base and building techniques have

evolved. One constant throughout has been that architecture has remained a service

provider to clients, working within the constraints of the concerns and needs of

society. The role of the architect has also evolved as society’s perception has

changed. Through examining how architects’ roles, responsibilities, and society’s

perceptions have changed, it becomes evident how and why the profession has

reached its current state and how this is reflected in designs.

2-1 Defining The Term ‘Architect’

Architect in its origin is a Greek word of high antiquity, originally meaning, according

to Liddell and Scot’s Lexicon, ‘a chief artificer, master builder, and director of works,

from an apprenticeship as an artisan or manual worker, most skilled in stone

masonry or carpentry’. 25 The architects of this era achieved their rank only when they

were perceived to ‘master’ their profession. Michelangelo, for example, did not

consider himself a true architect until the age of 80 after struggling for 50 years to

become a ‘great’ architect.26

2-2 Architects’ Role In History

Stemming from the earliest use of the professional term ‘architect’, through relevant

quotes and definitions, it is clear their apprenticeships encouraged them to be fine

artists with the ability to ideologically define and design space, creating place.27 The

earliest universities that incorporated architectural studies were those of the fine art

24 Briggs, MS. The Architect in history. New York, Da Capo Press, 1974 pp. 1

25 Briggs, MS. The Architect in history. New York, Da Capo Press, 1974 pp. 3

26 Rosner, Dr U. 2007. Honours supervision meetings. At the University of Western Australia, Crawley on semester 2 2007

27 Briggs, MS. The Architect in history. New York, Da Capo Press, 1974 pp. 4-10

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 13

realm. The Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna for instance (one of the oldest universities

in Europe), was founded over 120 years before the equivalent technical based

universities.28 John Ruskin (1819 – 1900), whose views on art and architecture

strongly influenced Victorian and Edwardian thinking, wrote; “No person who is not a

great sculptor or painter can be an architect. If he is not a sculptor or painter, he can

only be a builder.”29 This highlights the common perception that it takes a great artist

to create a building which becomes a great work of architecture.

Architecture has evolved from its historic art and sculpture roots to become a

profession absorbed by business, legal, financial and regulatory issues. The shift in

emphasis to a preoccupation with buildings crammed full of technical gadgetry, is

causing us to rethink the management of architectural processes and methods and

question the benefit of the impacts of environmental sustainability.

It can be argued that until relatively recently there was no need for architects to

consciously design or build sustainably.30 This changed with the advent of

industrialisation, largely through ignorance of its consequences. Today we face an

ethical challenge in design that has previously been avoided, largely because until

now, the environmental consequences of poor design were either ignored or not

clearly visible. The point is fast approaching where utilitarian principles, popularized

in the 19th century, may come to the fore.31 These principles promoted the need to

consider ‘the common good’, rather than simply individual preference in decisionmaking.

32 Architects, along with other associated professions, could be accused of

acting immorally if their actions did not properly consider the interests of civilization

as a whole, including future generations. This is a giant leap from the notion of being

driven by a simple client-architect relationship.

28 http://www.akbild.ac.at/Portal/academyen/about-us. University history home page 2/9/2007.

29 Briggs, MS. The Architect in history. New York, Da Capo Press, 1974 pp. 5

30 Roaf, S & David, C. Adapting buildings and cities for climate change: a 21st century survival guide. Burlington, Architectural

Press, 2005. pp. 6-7

31 Roaf, S & David, C. Adapting buildings and cities for climate change: a 21st century survival guide. Burlington, Architectural

Press, 2005. pp. 1

32 Term; ‘ Utilitarian’, Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford; 2007.

2-3 Ancient Egypt And Greecee...

2.3 Ancient Egypt And Greece

In order to analyze how society’s fixation is shaping the role of the architect, it makes

sense to look towards the beginnings of the profession, in Ancient Egypt and

Greece. As Martin S. Briggs states, the architects responsible for the design and

construction of the great pyramids and temples were “first-class engineers, and

immensely popular”33 within society. Their design methods were predominantly

mathematically-based investigations of geometry and its intrinsic links to the spiritual

and supernatural, and they built to gargantuan scales. These pyramids are the sole

survivors of the ‘seven wonders of the ancient world’, and remained the tallest

structures in the world until the 14th Century. The Ancient Egyptians referred to the

pyramids as ‘Mer’, meaning "place of ascendance", reflecting their connections to

the spiritual and supernatural world. They constituted the most potent and enduring

symbols of Ancient Egyptian civilization. When buried, the well respected architects

were done so with royal treatment and in royal chambers of the tombs they

envisioned.34 It is their ability to last in permanence, spirituality, and monumentality

that they heavily influenced the works of many great architects, including the works of

Louis Kahn (an example I will explore later).35

Giza, Egypt - The great pyramids36

Regulations concerning the role of the architect were first introduced in Ancient

Greece. By the fourth century B.C. the Greeks were introducing bylaws and

appointing building inspectors to oversee regulations relating to party walls,

dangerous structures, and the penetration of damp from one property to another

adjoining at a lower level. In this era, Architects were also used as town planners,

33 Briggs, MS. The Architect in history. New York, Da Capo Press, 1974 pp. 7

34 Briggs, MS. The Architect in history. New York, Da Capo Press, 1974 pp. 7-9

35 See Chapter 2.7 and Appendix 3 – Louis Kahn Case Study

36 Kstof, S. A history of architecture: settings and rituals. New York, Oxford University Press, 1985.pp. 18

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 15

designing the layouts of ancient Greek cities. Not all structures were great

architectural feats in this era. The great architects, whose works are still present

today, translated the societies’ contextual concerns of religion and spirituality into

monumental temples to please the gods.

2-4 Architects Shaped By Institution

2.4 Architects Shaped By Institution

The perception that early architects had of their responsibilities and roles within

society was coloured largely by the skill which had led them into the profession.

These comprised of apprenticeships, knowledge-bases, contextual backgrounds,

and with the advent of institutionalizing architecture, the institutions where they were

taught. Currently, to become an architect in Vienna, there are three schools of

architecture, presenting three different views of the discipline.37 The focus in The

University of Technology is engineering38, whilst in The Academy of Fine Arts

(founded in1692)39 it is arts, and in the University of Applied Arts is theory-based with

influence from the works of Ruskin and Macintosh.40 These three different focuses

would produce three varying architects; the more technical, theoretical or artistic

professional. However, the boundaries are and always have been blurred.

Similarly in Perth, Western Australia, we have two universities teaching architecture.

The University of Western Australia places strong emphasis on historical theory and

is largely arts-based, while Curtin University, originally a technical college, is strongly

technically and commercially based.41 In the eyes of some architects, the latter

produces more practical professionals who can be productive faster, whereas the

UWA students are often perceived to be better designers42. It is the combination of

the students’ contextual backgrounds that would influence the choice as to which

institute and syllabus to study. The teachings at the chosen institution might then

determine the specialization and focus of the graduate architects.

37 University of Vienna. http://www.univie.ac.at/University history home page 2/9/2007.

38 Tech University Vienna. University history home page. http://www.tuwien.ac.at/tu_vienna/history/. 2/9/2007

39 Academy of Fine Arts. http://www.akbild.ac.at/Portal/academyen/about-us. University history home page 2/9/2007.

40 University of Applied Arts http://www.dieangewandte.at/stories/storyReader$224. University history home page 2/9/2007.

41 Curtin University of Technology http://www.curtin.edu.au/history/ University history home page 2/9/2007

42Series of Architect in-class interviews. In ‘Professional Practice’. notes April - June 2007, available upon request.

2-5 Transition To The Architect Of Today

2.5 Transition To The Architect Of Today

 

As architects’ role in society evolved, so did their priority in carrying out architectural

methods and process. This transition forms the growing role and scope of services

to meet the needs of individuals rather than society or the unpredictable gods.43 The

Florentine architect Alberti, gives the earliest published definition of the role of the

architect in 1485 in his De Re Aedificatoria. 44

 

Alberti believed that the architect’s first concern was construction, all the practical

matters of site, materials and their limitations, including human capability. His second

concern was articulation, focusing on the way the building must work and satisfy the

needs of those who use it. His third concern was aesthetics, both of proportion and

ornament.45 In this way Alberti set up the realistic boundaries of the project, and then

assessed the needs and function of the occupant or client before addressing artistic

architectural input to a design.46 This is consistent with contemporary design

methods which consider constraints, limitations and needs as prerequisite to creative

design.

The leading architects of the 20th Century focused on reflection.47 They encouraged

revisiting the importance of architecture as a craft and cultural contribution, as well as

re-examining the standard of current architects against the works of the past.48 This

is a product of industrialization, specialization, increased regulation, and the shift of

tuition from apprenticeships with ‘hands on’ training, to theory based institutional

study. The leading architects of the 20th Century distanced their work from the

mediocre by forming boundaries between the “ideals” of architecture, and mere

construction.49 Le Corbusier wrote; "You employ stone, wood, and concrete, and with

these materials you build houses and palaces: that is construction. Ingenuity is at 

work. But suddenly you touch my heart, you do me good. I am happy and I say: This

is beautiful. That is Architecture".50

 

43 Briggs, MS. The Architect in history. New York, Da Capo Press, 1974 pp. 12-14

44This was published a year before the first edition of Vitruvius’ De architectura with which he was already familiar. D. Rowland -

T.N. Howe: Vitruvius. Ten Books on Architecture. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1999

45 This was published a year before the first edition of Vitruvius’ De architectura with which he was already familiar. D. Rowland -

T.N. Howe: Vitruvius. Ten Books on Architecture. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1999

46 Briggs, MS. The Architect in history. New York, Da Capo Press, 1974 pp. 28-32

47 Rosner, Dr U. 2007. Honours supervision meetings. At the University of Western Australia, Crawley on semester 2 2007

48 Kostof, S. The Architect: Chapters in the history of the profession. New York, Oxford University Press, 1977 pp. 219

49 Louis Kahn, silence and light. 1995 (DVD) New York, A Michael Blackwood Productions release

17

2-6 Architecture As A ‘Slow Craft’

2.6 Architecture As A ‘Slow Craft’

Architecture, as defined by Dr Ursa Rosner of the University of Western Australia, is a

“slow-craft”.51 This term has its roots in the catering industry where the quick, cheap,

low quality, low service ‘fast-food’ can be contrasted with the slower, more

expensive, high quality, high service, worth-the-wait, restaurant ‘slow-food’. Similarly

contemporary architecture could be seen as two separate professions or standards

of design. There are the business, financial, technical, mass-production, and quick

oriented ‘fast-craft’ architects, and the sustainable, artistic, craft, quality, slower,

reflection-oriented, worth-the-wait ‘slow-craft’ architects. The latter is the undefined

common standard for the leading ‘great’ architects of the past. Just as it makes

sense to look at the history of vernacular architecture, t is arguable that in attempting

to re-establish a sustainable existence, we should consider revisiting the processes

and methods adopted by these practitioners.

This polarization of the profession creates a calling for the creation of a new name for

the architects who respect and comply with the standards associated with the ‘slowcraft’

or a specialization in ‘fine architecture’. It is concerned with defining the

difference between architects, and mere mass market-oriented building designers.

This notion of conformist and non-conformist architecture has been used to describe

the difference between those who view the profession as a craft, and those who do

not. One prominent architect Peter Zumthor entered the profession as ancient

architects did, through skilled labour, as a carpenter in Switzerland.52 This helped

develop his strong belief that architecture is a craft, not primarily a business. This

polarization links intrinsically to the way in which architects are taught, the kind of

architect institutions are trying to create, and their purpose and role within society.

50 My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax

Documentary Films

51 Rosner, Dr U. 2007. Honours supervision meetings. At the University of Western Australia, Crawley on semester 2 2007

52 Rosner, Dr U. 2007. Honours supervision meetings. At the University of Western Australia, Crawley on semester 2 2007

2-7 Louis Kahn - Monumental and Sustainable Architecture 20th Century Artist-Type Architect

2.7 Louis Kahn - Monumental and Sustainable Architecture

20th Century Artist-Type Architect

Like Le Corbusier before him, one of the great architects of recent times, Louis Kahn

attempted to redefine architecture in support of the buildings he created;

“When a man makes something it must be unmeasurable in the end…when you do a

work of architecture you soon forget how many bricks you have to account for and

what you have to devise in calling upon the orders of nature to make what you have to

make. In the end all those things are not known to anybody but yourself as a struggle

to bringing things into being…a man says ‘ah, that’s wonderful’ and that’s the sum

total of it.”53

Kahn was the epitome of an artist in the way he conducted relations with his clients.

It was very much in the realm of “what Kahn says goes”54. If a client or purchaser

suggested to a painter, “I think this colouring should be lighter”, a great artist would

not change a thing, and most would likely take insult. I.M.Pei, best known for his

glass and steel skyscrapers such as the Hong Kong Bank of China, holds great

respect for Kahn and his work and his ability to stand his ground as an artist. While

accepting that through negotiation he himself, “lost many fewer clients than Kahn”55,

he recognized that, “Khan’s works were real masterpieces”56 which were invariably

almost exactly how he envisioned they should be. In Pei’s view, Kahn achieved the

greater success because, “Three or four masterpieces are more important than fifty

or sixty buildings, - quality over quantity”57. In saying this, Pei did not measure

success in dollars but through architecture and the design.

 

One of the most common quotes of Kahn is that of the story of a brick; “you say to

Brick, "What do you want Brick?" And Brick says to you "I like an Arch." And if you say

to Brick "Look, arches are expensive, and I can use a concrete lintel over you. What do 

ou think of that?" "Brick?" Brick says: "... I like an Arch."”58 Kahn had a similar

stubbornness to ‘Brick’ in his concepts and their justification. Pei believes if a client

had a concern or rejection of one of Kahn’s ideas, he would not let it pass, and

“would push it right through”. Kahn reflects the mind of a somewhat ‘free’ designer,

and ‘slow craft’ architect. However, it would be more difficult for even a respected

artist-type architect such as Kahn to succeed today with such egocentric manners.

The wealth of new regulations and the affects of, and need for, specialization create

a calling for an architect who can work, negotiate within, and lead a team. Similar to a

great painter, a great artist-type architect should be measurable by what they can

achieve within their respective limitations and boundaries.

See Appendix 3, (Louis Kahn - the epitome of an artist type architect)

 

53 Louis Kahn, silence and light. 1995 (DVD) New York, A Michael Blackwood Productions release

54 My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax

Documentary Films

55 My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax

Documentary Films

56 My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax

Documentary Films

57 Louis Kahn, silence and light. 1995 (DVD) New York, A Michael Blackwood Productions release

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 19y

2-8 How was Kahn Sustainable?

2.8 How was Kahn Sustainable?

Kahn’s buildings were primarily sustainable because they were built to last; to outlast

generations, trends and styles. As described by the architect Steven Holl, Kahn’s

buildings transcend and “cut through isms”59, as they are both futuristic and ancient

at the same time. 60 He achieved this through selecting strong materials that would

last and evoke strength, solidity and permanence. His designs are also sustainable

in the way they made use of natural light in an industrial era obsessed with artificial

lighting.61 His skill is demonstrated in the Kimbell Art Museum in Texas, where light

enters through slits in the top of long expansive vaults, and is deflected, washing the

light evenly along the concrete vaults, gently lighting the gallery spaces below. His

ability to design consciously considering both the environment and art in his designs,

and his ability to create long lasting monumental architecture, produced prime

examples of integrated sustainability.62

 

Kahn’s Bangladesh Parliament and surrounding buildings evoke a sense of

permanence which some claim provided much-needed confidence to the faltering government of the fledgling nation.63 They were also sustainable in that they were

designed for the local climate which is subject to extreme heat and flooding. The

layer of marble, inserted every 5 feet between each concrete pour creates a water

stop, ensuring that as water levels rise, the impact on each face of the building is

contained. This application of marble into the facades of the building was

sustainable on three levels with its, structural, environmental and aesthetic function.

The marble acted as a concrete break, a vapour barrier and balanced the harsh and

rough texture of the concrete with its smooth, well finished aesthetic quality.64

The Dacca Assembly Building, Louis Kahn65

 

Similarly, the access levels of all the buildings were raised well above the flood plane,

and the roads and pathways linking the various buildings were bridges with roads

and passages underneath for shaded travel in dry season. The buildings have an

outer skin to protect the inner skin from the harsh Dacca sun. As Kahn states; “I gave

the outside building to the sun, and the inside building to habitation”66. Through

educating the local architects and labourers to merge ancient, local and modernwestern

building techniques, Kahn was able to communicate an understanding of

his overall vision and ensure that the end-product was totally compatible with the

local climate and culture.67 In turn, the support of the local populace ensured the

building was sustainable at both a physical and popular level.

“All material in nature, the mountains and the streams and the air and we, are made of

light which has been spent, and this crumpled mass called material casts a shadow,

and the shadow belongs to Light..“68

The current perception that today’s standard requirements of sustainability demand

that a building generate its own electricity and water and have a neutral if not

negative impact of the earth’s environment is not entirely relevant in this instance.

Primarily, Kahn’s Dacca Assembly was designed and predominantly built before

these issues came to the fore. Secondly, the project had the equally important

responsibility of creating, uniting, teaching, and invigorating a new nation. Local and

international criticism of the cost of the enterprise, which might have been better

channelled into human aid, provided a lively debate at the time. Today, some

prominent Bangladeshi academics still insist that if it wasn’t for such a great building

design, and the man behind it, the nation might not exist today. The Bangladesh

Parliament embodied the spirit and identity of a new nation, providing both a political

and a social identity, and generating a level of sustainability beyond the purely

physical69. Kahn has shown himself to have been a pioneer in integrating

architectural design within its physical, political and social context. The result is

sustainability at a grand level, providing a stimulating example of what can be

achieved in the face of technical constraints and local difficulties which could have

overwhelmed a lesser man.

63 My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax

Documentary Films

64 My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax

Documentary Films

65 Louis Kahn, silence and light. 1995 (DVD) New York, A Michael Blackwood Productions release

66 My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax

Documentary Films

67 Steele, J. Ecological Architecture: A critical history. London, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2005 pp. 119

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 21

 

58 My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax

Documentary Films

59 Louis Kahn, silence and light. 1995 (DVD) New York, A Michael Blackwood Productions release

60 Louis Kahn, silence and light. 1995 (DVD) New York, A Michael Blackwood Productions release

61 My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax

Documentary Films

62 My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax

Documentary Films

68Louis Kahn, silence and light. 1995 (DVD) New York, A Michael Blackwood Productions release

69 My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax

Documentary Films

3. The Impact of Environmental Sustainability on the Role of the Architect

The increased concern of our current environmental state has significantly affected

the profession of Architecture. This has led to changes in the Architects’ boards

regulations, education, both at an under-graduate and post-graduate level, and is

resulting in an increased number of Architects specializing in relevant aspects of

design.

3-1 The contemporary architects role

3.1 The contemporary architects role

 

“It is the Global responsibility of the architect, who must now ‘think global but act local’

in specifying materials, and understanding the ramifications of choice.”70

Alec Tzannes, the National President of RAIA, believes architects have the role of

imagining the future, and their knowledge and skills are important community assets

to guide the future world we design today.71 He sees architecture as the intersection

of conflicting cultural, financial and political objectives, and only by conceiving a new

planning and legal paradigm can we truly contribute to a sustainable future. In the

realm of environmental sustainability, he deems private debates are defined by client

requirements, and public debates are defined by planning law. Tzannes believes the

answer lies in the design of cities, if they have at least a neutral affect on the

environment.72 His views grow from a holistic approach to addressing sustainability,

as they look at redesigning the city as a whole. Tzannes also sees however, that

these controls, although required, are leaving “fewer avenues to argue the merits of a

particular architectural approach”73. Architects are bound by several professional codes; The Board of Architects

Architects-Act 2004 is legislation that protects the use of the word ‘Architect’; The 

RAIA/AACA Codes of Professional Conduct; The RAIA Articles of Association; and

The UIA Accord, which defines international standards of professionalism.74

The RAIA / AACA Professional Codes of Conduct are used to set reasonable

standards to promote the profession to the community. Contained within these

codes are:

The obligation to serve and promote public interest;

The responsibility to contribute to the quality and sustainability of the natural

and built environment;

The health and safety of the general public;

Conservation of the nation’s heritage;

Conservation of natural resources;

To act honestly and fairly without discrimination;

To communicate with the public in a professional and responsible manner

 

Consequently architects are obligated to ensure they design in a responsible and

sustainable manner, to the best of their abilities.75 It could be argued that this goes

beyond a simple duty of care and that as professional designers the public might

reasonably expect architects to anticipate environmental and cost trends and adjust

their design criteria accordingly. In the face of the present environmental crisis, failure

to adequately discharge their professional responsibilities, resulting in buildings

becoming undesirable, uninhabitable and financially unsustainable, could expose

architects to legal liability. Claims against Architects comprise over 33% of all

litigation in the construction industry.76

 

The roles and responsibilities of architects are not static; they evolve to suit society

and its concerns. Architects are agents for their clients; however, architecture cannot

be seen as a mere service profession.77 As such, they act and design in the best

interests of their clients. How far should this ‘commitment’ be taken? Clients’ best 

interests initially may be very different to their long term needs, especially with the

advent of climate change. Hypothetically, their plots of land may be flooded by

increases in tidal planes, their homes may be unable to withstand low intensity

hurricanes, their buildings may not perform to an acceptable passively controlled

manner with increases in temperature ranges, or changes in directional winds. They

may not be able to incorporate the possibility of mandatory rain or recycled water

storage, or operate without the use of grid supplied power in long-term blackouts.

These contribute to a host of threats and concerns that the architect of the future

may need to address.

 

The Netherlands before and after climate change rise in sea levels78

Approximately half of the Netherlands is below sea level, and with the predicted sea

level rises there could be devastating effects.79 (see image above). Here, local

architects have designed houses that can withstand the implications of climate

change. “Dutch visionaries foresee a day when entire cities might float on the world’s

oceans”80 The P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E project (Prototype for Advanced Ready-made

Amphibious Small-scale Individual Temporary Ecological dwelling), is a direct

product of these concerns. Designed and built in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in

2001, by Rien Koteknie and Mechthild Stuhlmacher, it is a prototype of housing that

can be placed on top of existing buildings, making use of existing services.81 Joint

with this particular project, was the re-use and renovation of the derelict warehouse

on which it sit. This has been refitted and turned an exhibition space. The house’s 

structure is sustainable in its factory built panels made out of waste wood, and that it

was constructed by 3 men in only four days.

P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E82

"Since World War II, the Dutch have relied on technology for protection from the rivers

and the sea," said Adriaan Geuze, a landscape architect and the chief curator of the

biennale. "We are convinced that this is not a clever way to deal with reality, and three

months after the exhibition closed, Katrina showed us the truth of that."83

Art Zaaijer designed six floating houses in the new section of Amsterdam called

Ijburg as a response to the Netherlands’ climate change and flooding.84 These

houses, designed to withstand strong wind conditions, rise with the tidal changes. 85

They also have solar panels to generate their own electricity, and are made of

recycled and renewable materials. The concerns within the Netherlands are also

emanating globally with the Delta Sync-team of the TU Delft of Rotterdam, who

presented the concept of a floating pavilion to the world exposition committee in 

Shanghai. 86 The committee is currently investigating the feasibility of the design for

the 2010 world exhibition in China. The 5 interconnecting bubbled domes feature an

auditorium, 3D cinema, exhibition space and sky bar, and their shape offers an

optimized building climate and stability on the water. It incorporates rain water

harvesting and a thermal energy storage system, and can be re-situated after the

exposition. The design was intended as a prototype project for sustainable

urbanization on water, as a first step to overcome the predicted sea level rise.

87 88

Floating Houses , Art Zaaijer Floating City

70 Steele, J. Ecological Architecture: A critical history. London, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2005 pp. 7

71 Tzannes, A. ‘Architecture as collective identity’, In: Architecture Australia. V.96, n.4, 2007, July-Aug, pp.11

72 Tzannes, A. ‘Architecture as collective identity’, In: Architecture Australia. V.96, n.4, 2007, July-Aug, pp.11

73 Tzannes, A. ‘Building ideas and making buildings’, In: Architecture Australia. V.96, n.5, 2007, Sept-Oct, pp.11

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 23

 

 

74 Stace, S. 2007, The ABC of Practice: Architect, Brief & Client. lecture notes distributed in Professional Practice ARCT 5560 at

the University of Western Australia, Crawley on 28 March 2007

75 The Royal Australian Institute of Architects. ‘What does an architect do?’ http://www.architecture.com.au/i-cms?page=778

September 10 2007

76 Stace, S. 2007, The ABC of Practice: Architect, Brief & Client. lecture notes distributed in Professional Practice ARCT 5560 at

the University of Western Australia, Crawley on 28 March 2007

77 Roaf, S & David, C. Adapting buildings and cities for climate change: a 21st century survival guide. Burlington, Architectural

Press, 2005 pp. 317

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 24i

 

78 Gore, A. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. Emmaus,

Rodale, 2006 pp. 202

79 Martin, ST. ‘A home that rises with the water’, Times Senior Correspondent. Saint Petersburg Times. November 7 2005.

September 2007. www.sptimes.com/2005/11/07/Worldandnation/A_home_that_rises_wit.shtml

80 Martin, ST. ‘A home that rises with the water’, Times Senior Correspondent. Saint Petersburg Times. November 7 2005.

September 2007. www.sptimes.com/2005/11/07/Worldandnation/A_home_that_rises_wit.shtml

81 Hawthorn, C. Stang, A. The green house: new directions in sustainable architecture. New York, Princeton Architectural Press,

2005 pp. 21

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 25

 

 

82 Hawthorn, C. Stang, A. The green house: new directions in sustainable architecture. New York, Princeton Architectural Press,

2005 pp. 20

83 Martin, ST. ‘A home that rises with the water’, Times Senior Correspondent. Saint Petersburg Times. November 7 2005.

September 2007. www.sptimes.com/2005/11/07/Worldandnation/A_home_that_rises_wit.shtml

84 Gore, A. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. Emmaus, Rodale,

2006 pp. 203

85 Eddin, P. ‘Floating houses built to survive Netherlands Floods’, In: The San Francisco Chronicle. New York Times. 2005,

November 9, pp.H0-4

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 26

3-2 The Certification Of Sustainability

3.2 The Certification Of Sustainability

An environment-worthiness certificate for buildings is now emerging. NSW has

introduced Energy Efficiency Ratings in the resale of homes.89 In the future buyers

may find difficulty in raising mortgages on buildings with low ratings. This may be

reflected in lending institutions refusing to mortgage or demanding a higher interest

rate to reflect the increased risk which they are taking, where the future capital growth

of the property may be impaired. Environmental certification could become as

mandatory as producing a certificate of title for a sales transaction to occur. Noncompliant

buildings could become virtually un-salable.

If architects ignore technical applications for enhanced environmentally-sustainable

design they threaten their ability to secure work in the future. In an Ernst & Young

survey of fund managers and developers, “All respondents said they would not start

construction or refurbishment of a commercial office building without considering the

inclusion of environmentally sustainable features. To do so would limit the potential

tenant pool and ignore the commercial reality that green buildings attract better

tenants.”90 No longer simply a “nice to have”, Ernst & Young emphasised that

“sustainability had emerged as a priority for commercial tenants and government

regulators.”91

Green Star Rating

A report released September 2007 by the Australian Sustainable Built Environment

Council (ASBEC) has illustrated how important the role of the built environment is in

achieving Greenhouse Gas abatement. In a study of new commercial office buildings

in Australia, “it was found that Green Star certified buildings on average predict a

reduction in energy use of up to 85% compared to conventional office buildings and

with a further 385 commercial office buildings registered to achieve a Green Star

rating the potential to achieve real energy savings is growing”.92 It states if the

Australian building sector “does not take action, the target of 60% cut in Greenhouse

gas emissions by 2050 will remain just a target and will not be achieved as quickly

without the building sector playing a role."93

86 Martin, ST. ‘A home that rises with the water’, Times Senior Correspondent. Saint Petersburg Times. November 7 2005.

September 2007. www.sptimes.com/2005/11/07/Worldandnation/A_home_that_rises_wit.shtml

87 Eddin, P. ‘Floating houses built to survive Netherlands Floods’, In: The San Francisco Chronicle. New York Times. 2005,

November 9, pp.H0-4

88 Martin, ST. ‘A home that rises with the water’, Times Senior Correspondent. Saint Petersburg Times. November 7 2005.

September 2007. www.sptimes.com/2005/11/07/Worldandnation/A_home_that_rises_wit.shtml

89 Carbon Cops: Episode 4 - The Bettenay and Fletcher Families. Aired on ABC TV Tuesday the 17th July at 8.00pm, Melbourne, a

December-Films and Fremantle-Media Australia production

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 27

3-3 The Effect of Sustainability on the ‘Artist-Type Architect’.

3.3 The Effect of Sustainability on the ‘Artist-Type Architect’.

The most recent environmentally sustainable regulations, including those of the BCA,

are more restrictive than many architects and clients realize. They must now comply

with sophisticated requirements including material thermal performance, sealing of

the building, natural ventilation, insulated services, and predicted room temperatures.94 To many, this new age of restrictive regulation and compliance can stifle creativity.

Alternatively, a degree of control can be positive. Those who consider architecture an

art and a ‘slow-craft’ still need to question the impact of their design. Gehry, for

instance, can no longer use the reflective curving alloy surface material skins he used

on the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.95 These concave and convex,

polished and brushed stainless steel surfaces caused the internal temperatures in

nearby apartments to rise by up to fifteen degrees Celsius. As result of this, and the

extreme glare caused by the building, a temporary mesh had to cover these surfaces

in a concerted effort to remedy the problem.

 

Images of Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and anti-reflective mesh coverings96

 

As architects become more business-oriented, the gap between the craft and the

business widens. Building has always been linked to economy, with the underlying

pressure to produce construction at a minimal cost. However, this cost has not

properly reflected environmental costs. Carbon footprints and offsets promise to

remedy this. Cost in simple dollar terms may even become subordinate to

environmental cost in making planning decisions

 

94 Appendix 1 & Commonwealth, States and Territories of Australia. ‘BCA assessment methods’ In: Energy efficiency introductory

awareness training. Australian Building Codes Board, 2003

95 Roaf, S & David, C. Adapting buildings and cities for climate change: a 21st century survival guide. Burlington, Architectural

Press, 2005 pp. 236-237

96 Roaf, S & David, C. Adapting buildings and cities for climate change: a 21st century survival guide. Burlington, Architectural

Press, 2005 pp. 236

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 29

90 Being green is important to attract tenants: survey.’ In: The West Australian. pp.67, 19 September 2007

91 Being green is important to attract tenants: survey.’ In: The West Australian. pp.67, 19 September 2007

92 Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC): September 2007 Report.

93 Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC): September 2007 Report.

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 28

3-4 Education Of Architects Teaching Clients, Teaching Society, Teaching Architects

3.4 Education Of Architects

Teaching Clients, Teaching Society, Teaching Architects

The role of the architect is constantly evolving to meet public, government and

professional regulation. To obtain the skills and knowledge required to design, plan

and oversee a diverse range of projects, architects undergo extensive formal

institutionalized education (previously an apprenticeship), followed by a period of

professional practice. A questionnaire sent to staff at UWA revealed the view that

students are graduating with insufficient education or understanding of

environmental design, but that this is best gained through working in the field.97

Some universities incorporate practical ‘real-building’ of environmentally sustainable

architecture into their courses. Rural Studio, established by Auburn University’s

architecture professors, Dennis Ruth and the late Samuel Mockbee, allows students

to design, communicate, document, and physically build houses, civic buildings and

infrastructure for the improvement of dire living conditions in rural Alabama.

“The Rural Studio seeks solutions to the needs of the community within the

community's own context, not from outside it. Abstract ideas based upon knowledge

and studies are transformed into workable solutions forged by real human contact,

personal realization, and a gained appreciation for the culture.”98

Students design and live in self-built cabins within the region that is below the

poverty level where they “share the sweat”99 and become avid agents of change. The

‘Carpet Tile House’ is one design showcasing the recycling of cheap second hand

materials, (stacked carpet tiles used as thermal mass), and their high levels of social

and environmental sustainability. Other projects are built from hay, tires, car windows

and a variety of resourced cheap materials for structures from houses to chapels. 

 

Carpet Tile House &100

Recycled Tyre Chapel , by students of Rural Studio101

Living Tebogo was designed and built by Base Habitat, an organization of socially

and environmentally respondent architects and students, for a poverty-stricken town

in Africa.102 The building is designed to passively control interior temperatures to a

comfortable level all year round by opening the house up at night to release the heat,

and sealing it during the day to stop heat-gain. This is the reversal of the local

practice.103 Although the locals were engaged in the design and building process,

they were not adequately educated in how to live in the new structures. Without a

proper understanding and application of the principles embodied in the design, the

building simply will not work as intended.

Some may interpret this inability to improve the town’s understanding of

environmentally sustainable living as ‘trophy architecture’, where the overruling

priority and intention is to seek public attribution and reward. However, the

assistance provided by this group was helpful in the social buildings they created,

but would have been of far more substantial benefit if the organization provided the

society with the understanding and commitment to build and operate sustainable

structures. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and

you feed him for a lifetime.”105

The ground breaking CH2 building in Melbourne is Australia’s first building to attempt

biomimicry106 as a design principle, and educate by setting an example of a 6-star

energy rated office building. The DesignInc architects, Stephen Webb and Chris

Thorne, designed a building that “successfully shows its innate qualities as a visually

resolved architectural form”.107 The building shows on the outside, its sustainable

functionality inside. In this way, the building is sticking to the ‘tacked on’ approach of

sustainable design in order to educate. Its wind power turbines are bright yellow. The

palette of materials selected are in stark contrast, to draw attention to the large

timber louvre systems, and the cooling towers and grey water systems are

accentuated as solid mass on the buildings exterior.108 To some, its accentuated

design labels CH2 can be seen as a caricature, albeit a necessary one, to draw

public attention to the environmental sustainability debate.

CH2 Building109

Local architects now have the opportunity, and arguably the need, to study the

Master of Science in Environmental Architecture at Murdoch University in Western 

Australia. The course outline states, “There is a global shortage of architects with the

training to properly design imaginative solutions for ecologically sustainable

buildings”.110 As the first of its kind in Australia, the course is designed to provide

graduate architects with a “sound training in state-of-the art principles of

environmental architecture”111. The course offers a holistic approach to the art of

architecture and the science of climatology, and ecologically sustainable building

technology. This need for further education has occurred with every major

development within the profession, such as the introduction of computers and the

emergence of AutoCAD. Similarly, this requirement for a new understanding within

the role of the architect will change the way in which architects work. The changes in

processes and methods, through which they design, will call for further education in

how to embrace the advent of ecological and environmental sustainability. 112

97 Appendix 6 – Questionnaire Results Summary

98 Dean, AO. Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an architecture of decency. New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 2002 pp.

preface

99 Design like you give a damn: architectural responses to humanitarian crises. Edited by Architecture for Humanity. London,

Thames & Hudson, 2006. pp 147

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 30

105 Lao Tzu (Circa 600 B.C.)

106 Definition: ‘Direct and honest expression of the biodynamic relationships that nature uses in her own designs’.

107 Morris-Nunn, R. ‘CH2 6 stars, but is it architecture?’, In: Architecture Australia. v.96, n.1, 2007 Jan-Feb, pp.91-99

108 Tan, S. ‘CH2 6 stars, but how does it work?’, In: Architecture Australia. v.96, n.1, 2007 Jan-Feb, pp.101-104

109 Morris-Nunn, R. ‘CH2 6 stars, but is it architecture?’, In: Architecture Australia. v.96, n.1, 2007 Jan-Feb, pp.91-99

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 32

Living Tebogo by students of Base Habitat104

100 Design like you give a damn: architectural responses to humanitarian crises. Edited by Architecture for Humanity. London,

Thames & Hudson, 2006. pp. 147

101 Dean, AO. Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an architecture of decency. New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 2002 pp.

96

102 Linz, K. BASEhabitat: die architektur. Austria, Roland Gnaiger, 2007 pp. 5-14

103 Rosner, Dr U. 2007. Honours supervision meetings. At the University of Western Australia, Crawley on semester 2 2007

104 Linz, K. BASEhabitat: die architektur. Austria, Roland Gnaiger, 2007 pp. 5-6

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 31

3-5 Specialization

3.5 Specialization

“Nothing is as dangerous in architecture as dealing with separated problems. If we

split life into separated problems we split the possibilities to make good building

art.”113

Environmental concern is directly affecting the role of the architect in society. An

example of this is the breaking down of the architect’s scope of services in the name

of specialization. Architects are not the ‘generalists’ they once were.114 They

continually take on new responsibilities guided by their respective clients,

communities and government regulations. To cope with this increased workload and

level of complexity, specialist functions such as quantity surveyors and project

managers have emerged.115 In recent times these have been joined by experts in 

acoustics, lighting, sound and other disciplines related to, and in some respects

evolved from, the architectural profession. Now, our environmentally conscious

society has ushered in a new calling - the environmental sustainability consultant.

Just as any change introduced into a stable system creates an added complexity;

both architects and the myriad of specialists must determine how to interact with this

newly defined expertise.

 

“The Specialist in comprehensive design is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor,

mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist. He bears the same

relationship to society in the new interactive continuities of the world-wide

industrialization that the architect bore to the respective remote independencies of

feudal society.”116

110 Master of Science in environmental architecture (MSc) Course Outline.

http://www.choose.murdoch.edu.au/postgrad/images/9/9a/MSc_Environmental_Arch.pdf August 2007

111 Master of Science in environmental architecture (MSc) Course Outline.

http://www.choose.murdoch.edu.au/postgrad/images/9/9a/MSc_Environmental_Arch.pdf August 2007

112 Dr Ursa Rosner – “Sustainability should not have to be done so demonstratively, but integrated into the design…There are

already many examples of this in culturally more sustainable countries than Australia…CH2 is like a comic strip for a society

that has fallen into a state of architectural dyslexia”

113 Alvar Aalto (1898-1976)

114 Briggs, MS. The Architect in history. New York, Da Capo Press, 1974 pp. 1-10

115 Stace, S. 2007, The ABC of Practice: Architect, Brief & Client. lecture notes distributed in Professional Practice ARCT 5560 at

the University of Western Australia, Crawley on 28 March 2007

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 33

3-6 Perception of Threats to Profession Carbon Cops – Specialization, a threat within the profession

3.6 Perception of Threats to Profession Carbon Cops – Specialization, a threat within the profession

 

The evolving role of architects, creating new and distinct specializations, is

contributing to a fragmentation of the profession. The focus on our environment is

not only for news headlines but also for the creation of reality TV shows, which

highlight the responsibilities of the architectural, building and construction industries.

‘Carbon Cops’ is a recent ABC television reality show where ‘carbon foot print

officers’ enter homes to measure carbon emissions and assess the environmental

impact of the living habits of the inhabitants, and the way the dwelling itself performs.

Environmental Scientists Sean Fitzgerald and Lish Fejer, the ‘Cops’, then make

changes to the family’s lifestyles, appliances and homes, educating them on how to

make a smaller carbon footprint and become more environmentally sustainable,

“Aiming to cut carbon emissions by 50 percent.”117

In one case (see appendix 7), the application of the Carbon Cop sustainable

philosophy was focused on behavioral changes as the house was rented, ruling out

major changes to its design. Instead, the Carbon Cops applied this philosophy to the

new designs of their un-built townhouses. “The most important thing for this family is

not to repeat their mistakes in their new properties”118. The Cops engaged a new

Architect for the townhouses, Luke Middleton (Design Director at EME Group) to

develop a far more environmentally sustainable design, in this case 6 star energyrated

townhouses, much better suited to the families’ needs. Middleton describes

his role as a “fantastic opportunity to change the design from the ground up”119. The

new design looks at overlapping the functions and accesses of rooms and the

ridding of unusable ‘dead space’ such as long corridors, as every excess square

meter costs more both in dollars, resources, carbon production and environmental

impacts.

The episode closes with the families engaging Luke Middleton to re-design their unbuilt

townhouses, cancelling their contracts with the previous architects.120 Although

this production successfully educates the families and viewers in responding

constructively to the environment, the replacement of one architect by one more

environmentally-aware, goes almost unnoticed. As confirmed in the Questionnaire,

this demonstrates the very real threat of specialization to those architects who have

not embraced ESD Principles.121

Project Home Builders – Threat to profession

For over a century architects have competed with mass-produced homes provided

by project builders, using standard designs promoted through mass media

advertising.122 The advent of environmental consciousness has done little to

undermine the threat which project home builders represent to the architectural

profession. The guidelines of the Architects Act of 2004, legally binds architects from

advertising, as a means of providing more equal and fair opportunities between

118 Carbon Cops: Episode 4 - The Bettenay and Fletcher Families. Aired on ABC TV Tuesday the 17th July at 8.00pm, Melbourne,

a December-Films and Fremantle-Media Australia production

119 Carbon Cops: Episode 4 - The Bettenay and Fletcher Families. Aired on ABC TV Tuesday the 17th July at 8.00pm, Melbourne,

a December-Films and Fremantle-Media Australia production

120 Carbon Cops: Episode 4 - The Bettenay and Fletcher Families. Aired on ABC TV Tuesday the 17th July at 8.00pm, Melbourne,

a December-Films and Fremantle-Media Australia production

121 See Appendix 6

122 Karol, Dr E. ‘Future Focus’, In: WA’s Best Homes; Architects, Builders & Designers 2007. Perth. 2007. pp 47-55

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 35

smaller and larger firms.123 Although this removes issues of false advertising and

misrepresentation, it does leave project home builders largely unhindered in

promoting their product to the public, leading to a high level of market penetration.

As some of these companies build thousands of houses a year, they have

considerable risk. They are therefore keen to ensure that their product is sufficiently

environmentally sustainable to meet future certification requirements. This is

predicated on the expectation that compliance with the new eco-friendly regime will

have a positive impact on future resale values.

Rivergums Skillion, Rural Building Company124

The incentive for project home builders to design environmentally sustainable

packages is now evident with recent write-ups and advertisements aiming at the

environmentally-conscious within society.125 This market niche has represented a

growing source for architectural clients over the last ten years, helping re-position

architects as ‘leaders’ in the fight against climate change. However, unless the

profession can capitalize on its opportunity and surpass the standards of project

homebuilders, it is likely to lose a good proportion of these potential new clients.

Project home builders provide cheaper and faster design & build packages, with

committed supply of skilled-labour and materials. The introduction of sustainable

technologies and basic passive design principles strengthens the project

homebuilders’ competitive position.

New BCA regulations encourage all home builders to adopt sound environmental

design principles.126 The advantages architects offer over project home builders,

designers, and related professions in the field, is their skill in designing site-specific

responses to a client’s needs. Architectural designs should be superior to standard

designs through drawing attention to the ongoing running costs of a dwelling rather

than simply the capital costs. These post-construction costs, both in financial and

environmental terms, are likely to be far more significant factors in the future, and are

the basis for environmentally sustainable renovations to existing homes.

126 Tzannes, A. ‘Building ideas and making buildings’, In: Architecture Australia. V.96, n.5, 2007, Sept-Oct, pp.11

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 37

116 Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007 pp. 7

117 Carbon Cops, ABC TV, Bettenay & Fletcher Family, Episode 4. http://www.abc.net.au/tv/carboncops/bettenays.htm August

2007

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 34

123 Stace, S. 2007, The ABC of Practice: Architect, Brief & Client. lecture notes distributed in Professional Practice ARCT 5560 at

the University of Western Australia, Crawley on 28 March 2007

124 Karol, Dr E. ‘Future Focus’, In: WA’s Best Homes; Architects, Builders & Designers 2007. Perth. 2007. pp.54

125 Karol, Dr E. ‘Future Focus’, In: WA’s Best Homes; Architects, Builders & Designers 2007. Perth. 2007. pp 47-55

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 36

4. How Architects Can Implement Their Responsibility

Architects are trained to meet the needs of their clients.127 Through their control of the

design process they become key players in the fight to sustain the environment. The

challenges they face may be as simple as how to get northern solar penetration on a

narrow site that faces east-west, or how to generate power for a rural site that is not

able to be connected to a power grid. They may be on a more personal level of

placing client-specified needs and desires into a design, or responding to cultural

significance or public disputes. Sustainability should become an axiom of good

design, which is embodied throughout the design process.

A successful design requires architectural intent, criteria and method.128 Intent is a

general expected outcome for a design, such as a sustainable design that seeks a

high standard of architectural aesthetic and merit. A criterion is a benchmark that

sets minimal performance targets to assess its intent. A typical example might be a

six star greenhouse rated project, which requires no air-conditioning, is in equilibrium

with the environment (by producing the energy it consumes and remaining carbon

neutral), reflects the social and cultural values of its locale and that receives at least

one architecture award. Architectural method is the means of accomplishing

architectural intent and criteria. 129

4-1 Process & Method

4.1 Process & Method

Developing suitable processes and methods for the design of site-specific,

environmentally sustainable architecture requires discipline. The temptation to place

technical issues on the back-burner and treat them as an afterthought must be

balanced against the danger of designing a habitable, power-generating recycle bin

brimming with technology.

The architect’s design process is made up of a sequence of stages, all of which

should consider environmentally sustainable applications. These entail pre-design,

conceptual design, schematic design, design development, construction

documents, construction and occupancy.130 To create a successful environmentallysustainable

product, sustainable design applications should be planned in each of

these levels from the projects inception.

Passive design is one aspect in which architects fulfill their integral role in sustainable

design. It avoids the purchase of energy to create a more sustainable design through

sourcing it from components that are part of another system.131 For instance, using a

natural breeze to cool a house through an open window, originally installed to

introduce light and scenery. Passive design principles are also integrated into the

overall building fabric, and are not considered an afterthought that appears to be

‘tacked-on’ to a design. An active system, on the other hand, is an afterthought that

can destroy the architectural merit and aesthetics of a building.132

Government initiatives can also impact the design process. Solar energy has been

actively promoted for over 30 years, but has generally been perceived as not costeffective

when weighed against traditional energy-sources.133 This is now changing

with the advent of the true environmental costs of competing energy sources being

included in the equation. The catalyst to this has been government recognition of the

need to ‘balance the books’ in order to stem the negative environmental impact of

using fossil fuels. Until very recently, environmental incentives were little more than

statements and recommendations, and lacked teeth. This is now changing as the

cold, hard facts of climate change and the financial imperatives driving society

toward sustainability, take hold.

The house at 15 Hamersley St Cottesloe, designed by Paul Hoffman, was completed

in 1997 and was the first home in suburban WA to generate power and release any

excess to requirements into the power grid.134 The concept was so novel that in initial 

negotiations between the environmentally-conscious house-owner and the local

power utility, the initial buying offer was less than one third of the selling price to the

end consumer.135 The German government, in contrast, has created financial

incentives to drive sustainability. Their utilities offer almost three times the retail

electricity price for excess generated electricity provided to the power grid. Rather

than offering only cash back on the purchase of marginally more efficient appliances,

encouraging consumers to send rusting washing machines to the tip and upgrade,

adopting the German mindset could substantially encourage Australians to look

closer at the benefits of domestic power generation and sustainable options. As we

look to a more environmentally sustainable future we can expect an increase in

Government initiatives promoting sustainable design.136

An emphasis on a cultural, technical, formal, or programmatic pursuit in design will

always affect the outcome of the project and its resulting architectural expression.137

Similarly, a focus on ecological design can change a building’s outcome and

articulation. However, this is greatly dependant upon the degree to which the

techniques are revealed or concealed, drawn out or underplayed, and whether the

concerns of ecology are primary or secondary. In some respects this wave of

ecologically minded design is a call to reduce specialization. It encourages the

architect to take on the mantle of leader and integrator, assuming varied roles, such

as naturalist, material scientist, lighting designer and engineer.138 In addition,

communication and negotiation with all participants in the design and building

process becomes a crucial part of this expanded role. Equally the requirement for

such a vast range of skills encourages architects to ‘pass the buck’, seeking a

specialist in each of the fields. By doing so, the architect also avoids additional legal

responsibility.139 Against this backdrop, the architect continues to walk a fine line

between the generalist and the specialist.

135 Cullen, R. Owner of Cottesloe Hamersley House. Interview. 17/08/2007

136 Tzannes, A. ‘Architecture as collective identity’, In: Architecture Australia. V.96, n.4, 2007, July-Aug, pp.11

137 Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007 pp. 9

138 Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007 pp. 13

139 Stace, S. 2007, The ABC of Practice: Architect, Brief & Client. lecture notes distributed in Professional Practice ARCT 5560 at

the University of Western Australia, Crawley on 28 March 2007

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 40

127 Tzannes, A. ‘Architecture as collective identity’, In: Architecture Australia. V.96, n.4, 2007, July-Aug, pp.11

128 Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007 pp. 2

129 Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007 pp. 3

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 38

130 Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007 pp. 2

131 Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007 pp. 3

132 Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007 pp. 3

133 Cullen, R. Owner of Cottesloe Hamersley House. Interview. 17/08/2007

134 Bacich, E. ‘Positively Powerful: Energy efficient style’, In: Home & Style Magazine. 1998. pp.46-55

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 39

4-2 Integration of Architectural Applications of Environmentally Sustainable Design

4.2 Integration of Architectural Applications of Environmentally Sustainable Design

 

It is possible for a sustainable building to perform well primarily as a result of active

strategies implemented by a consulting engineer during the development stages of a

design.140 It is also possible for a building to become ’green’, primarily as a result of

passive systems incorporated during conceptual and schematic design, with early

reasoned and appropriate integration of green design strategies. Although the

financial output may be similar or better with the former, the latter will create a design

with greater architectural merit.

 

Sinking a building into a slope or under flat terrain is a sustainable design technique

employed by the ancients which impacts significantly on the resulting form and

aesthetic of a building.141 It enables a building to absorb the stable temperatures

below the surface of the terrain. In a sense the earth is a vast expanse of thermal

mass, and only the exposed surfaces change temperature to match the climate. The

deeper a building is set into the earth, the more stable its internal temperature

becomes.

This concept, inspired by cave habitation, is employed extensively in mining towns

such as Coober Pedy in South Australia, to escape the fierce summer heat.142 These

cave-like structures maintain temperatures around 25 degrees Celsius, even when

the surface temperature is 45 degrees. Mine digging equipment is used to dig out

the caves, which are sealed to prevent dust falling from the ceiling, while natural light

is provided through skylights. This passive design method also preserves the

appearance of the natural landscape, leaving the ground-level vista undisturbed.

 

Coober Pedy Dugout Home, Serbiam Orthodox Underground Church, & Desert Cave Hotel143

 

At the other extreme the architect may choose to raise a building above the

ground.144 This process allows air to pass underneath the house creating a cooling

effect, while the shaded ground beneath can be used for other purposes. Glen

Murcutt is a rural Australian architectural icon who uses this technique often in his

designs as a means of “touching the earth lightly” 145, preserving what lies beneath

the house. Murcutt’s designs also pay close attention to the movement of the sun,

moon, and seasons, and he designs his buildings to harmonize with and make use

of the movement of light and wind. Many of Murcutt’s buildings are not air

conditioned and make extensive use of verandahs as intermediate zones. Murcutt

pays particular attention to the choice of materials he uses to shed and retain heat.

Marika-Alderton House, Glenn Murcutt146 Ball-Eastway House, Glenn Murcutt 147

Architects’ choices of materials both internally and externally are integral, and can

make or break the sustainability of a design. In choosing a palette of materials,

architects should not only consider their aesthetic, stylistic and structural properties,

but also their thermal performance, and their embodied energy.148 The embodied

energy of a material encompasses all the resources used to bring it from its original

form to its current use.149

The complex task of choosing appropriate construction materials can be simplified

by adhering to the ‘three R’s’. This commonly used phrase refers to the ‘Re-use,

Reduction and Recycling’ of materials. This can be as simple as re-using floorboards

from a demolished house, as in the Hamersley St House by Paul Hoffman150; reusing

the complete shell of an existing building to house a new function, like the Palais de

Tokyo in Paris by Lacaton & Vassal151; reducing the excess physical footprint of a

house along with the materials used, as discussed previously in the Bettenay-

Fletcher Townhouses152; or can entail breaking down and recycling old bricks and

rubble from a previous house as the highly awarded Subiaco Sustainable

Demonstration Home does.153

The Subiaco Sustainable Demonstration Home, designed by Solar Dwellings and Dr

Elizabeth Karol, is a showcase of the extreme reality of specialization in sustainable

architecture.154 The award-winning home was designed to educate and raise

awareness of practical and innovative solutions to the sustainable living challenge.

Throughout its two years of public exhibition it demonstrated a range of sustainable

design and construction ideas that can easily be incorporated into the construction a

new home or the renovation of an existing one. At the core of the house is a thick

rammed-earth wall with a high thermal mass. This was poured using the crushed

rubble of brick and concrete from an old warehouse demolished on the site.155 The

design of the northern façade of the building allows direct winter sun to penetrate

and hit the recycled rammed earth wall which, through its high thermal properties,

stores and slowly emits the heat into the surrounding areas of the house. The reverse

brick veneer of the exterior of the building also contributes to the house’s thermal

performance, reducing heat gain throughout the year, as the thin outer custom orb

sheeting acts as a ‘sacrificial layer’, keeping the direct sun off the internal layer of

bricks.156

Subiaco Sustainable Demonstration Home157 Subiaco Sustainable Demonstration Home Passive Design Diagrams158

The sustainable lifespan of a house can also be determined by whom it caters for,

the length of time occupants can remain comfortable and safe within it, and the way

in which it treats resources as they become more depleted and expensive. The

Subiaco sustainable demonstration home is extremely sustainable in its design for

accessibility; with non-slip flush floors, raised flower beds, straight stairs for a chairlift,

and accessible switches, handles and taps.159 It also conserves, collects and

recycles water, by respectively keeping wet areas close together and using native

plants in the garden. It incorporates a rainwater tank, and transfers grey water from

internal drains and washing machines into the flowerbeds. The house also conserves

stores and generates electricity, by removing the need for air conditioning through

outstanding thermal performance. In keeping wet areas using hot water in close

proximity, piping and travel for the water is minimized efficient appliances, fittings, an

array of solar hot water, and photo-voltaic panels160, power converters and batteries

contribute significantly to the building’s overall energy performance.

140 Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007 pp. 5

141 Hollo, N. Warm House Cool House: Inspirational Designs for low-energy Housing. Marrickville, Choice Books, 2003 pp.35

142 Levell, D. ‘Opal central’, In: The Australian Way. n.171, 2007, September. Pp.48-54

143Levell, D. ‘Opal central’, In: The Australian Way. n.171, 2007, September. Pp.48-54

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 41

144 Hollo, N. Warm House Cool House: Inspirational Designs for low-energy Housing. Marrickville, Choice Books, 2003 pp. 35

145 Fromonot, F. Glenn Murcutt: buildings & projects1962-2003. London, Thames & Hudson, 2003. pp. 96

146 Fromonot, F. Glenn Murcutt: buildings & projects1962-2003. London, Thames & Hudson, 2003. pp. 219

147 Fromonot, F. Glenn Murcutt: buildings & projects1962-2003. London, Thames & Hudson, 2003. pp. 133

148 Environmental Scientist, Luke Middleton. Carbon Cops, ABC TV, Bettenay & Fletcher Family, Episode 4.

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/carboncops/bettenays.htm August 2007

149 Steele, J. Ecological Architecture: A critical history. London, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2005 pp. 7

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 42

150 Cullen, R. Owner of Cottesloe Hamersley House. Interview. 17/08/2007

151 Rosner, Dr U. 2007. Honours supervision meetings. At the University of Western Australia, Crawley on semester 2 2007

152 Carbon Cops: Episode 4 - The Bettenay and Fletcher Families. Aired on ABC TV Tuesday the 17th July at 8.00pm, Melbourne,

a December-Films and Fremantle-Media Australia production

153 Subiaco sustainable demonstration home. 2006, (DVD), Subiaco, W.A., Sustainable energy development Office WA

154 Baverstock, G. ‘House – Temperate – Perth’. 2003. http://www1.sedo.energy.wa.gov.au/pages/her_case.asp August 2007

155 ‘Sanctuary’, Your Home Website. Subiaco Sustainable Development Home. http://www.yourhome.goc.au August 2007

156 Subiaco sustainable demonstration home. 2006, (DVD), Subiaco, W.A., Sustainable energy development Office WA

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 43

4-3 Technology & Integration

4.3 Technology & Integration

 

“A generation ago, the popular imagery of sustainable houses were steeply slanted

roofs blanketed with solar panels, rustic walls peeking over earthen berms and the

occasional architectural folly constructed of a motley collection of found items

recycled into vernacular building materials”161

This imagery is still evident today, and has is encouraged in some official quarters as

an appropriate reaction to environmental concerns. Over time however, the

technology employed has developed substantially, incorporating elements of

disguise to soften the visual impact.

Technology is constantly evolving, creating new materials and gadgets to assist

architects in achieving sustainable designs. The devastating affects of de-forestation

have led to a variety of man-made timber products.162 Source materials are collected

from plantation forests (fast rejuvenating, planted for material use) and mixed with

glues to create structural beams and frames that are no bigger than, and are as

strong as steel.163 Added to this, they are up to 1200 times more efficient in terms of

their embodied energy, and are priced to compete. In an ALVA Studio this semester,

we are currently investigating this form of material in a sustainable rural Australian

design where it can be constructed by laymen, without the need for welders and

cranes.

The Conde Nast Building in New York is a high achiever on the green star rating

scheme.164 Its glazing system and skin seamlessly incorporate electricity-generating

photo-voltaic panels, highlighting how far green technology has developed without

appearing an eyesore. PV-TV,165 developed last year, is the latest of such disguised

technology. This amorphous silicon technology has “three in one” functionality,

acting as a glazing element, solar panel and an internal and external video display

screen.166 The panels allow up to 10% visible light to be transmitted, which is optimal

sufficient light in cloudy conditions, whilst protecting against excessive solar gain and

ultraviolet rays. This type of technically integrated system can replace skylights,

eaves, windows, and curtain walls, easily paying for itself. Such ingenious, multi-

157 Subiaco sustainable demonstration home. 2006, (DVD), Subiaco, W.A., Sustainable energy development Office WA

158 Subiaco sustainable demonstration home. 2006, (DVD), Subiaco, W.A., Sustainable energy development Office WA

159 Subiaco sustainable demonstration home. 2006, (DVD), Subiaco, W.A., Sustainable energy development Office WA

160 Definition: light-voltage

161 Hawthorn, C. Stang, A. The green house: new directions in sustainable architecture. New York, Princeton Architectural Press,

2005 pp. 9

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 44

162 Gore, A. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It. Emmaus, Rodale,

2006 pp. 220

163 WesBeam Laminated Veneer Lumber, ‘Nature meets technology through human endevour’.

http://www.wesbeam.com/news.php August 2007

164 Gissen, D & McDonough, W. Big & Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century. New York, Princeton

Architectural Press, 2002 pp. 23

165 Definition: Developed last year by the Tokyo based MSK Corporation in conjunction with chemical company Kaneka and

Japanese architecture firm Taiyo Industries

166 Solomon, NB. 2007, Photovoltaic technology comes of age. Architectural Record.

http://archrecord.construction.com/resources/conteduc/archives/0101photovoltaic.asp August 2007

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 45

purpose materials and technologies are extremely sustainable and have potential

application throughout the design process.

(Refer Appendix 8 for more sustainable precedents)

167 MSK Corporation Factory Conde Nast Building New York168

167 Solomon, NB. 2007, Photovoltaic technology comes of age. Architectural Record.

http://archrecord.construction.com/resources/conteduc/archives/0101photovoltaic.asp August 2007

168 Gissen, D & McDonough, W. Big & Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century. New York, Princeton

Architectural Press, 2002

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 46

5. Conclusion

Conclusion

 

“Integrated Design is a process that applies the skills and knowledge of different

disciplines and interactions of different building systems to synergistically produce a

better, more efficient and more responsible building – occasionally for a lower first

cost, but more typically for a lower life-cycle cost.”169

Environmental Sustainability has significantly impacted on all facets of the architect’s

role. Associated regulatory changes have also affected the role of the architect, in

terms of client relationship and design process. Effectively, regulations provide the

platform for architects to enforce sustainability upon their clients. As regulations

tighten, those who do not embrace environmental design will have difficulty gaining

building approval and even greater difficulty attracting and retaining clients and

commissions. In adapting architecture to the current concern of an environmentallyconscious

society, the current threats of specialization from within the profession and

competition from outside it will remain.

Architects are trained to manage, negotiate, mediate, co-ordinate consultants,

market, solve problems, liaise with and educate clients, and most importantly design.

However, as the list of consultants widens, and the concerns of climate change

increase, architects must maintain a current and appropriate understanding of each

of the roles of those involved, in order to manage effectively and achieve an overall

environmentally sustainable design. Increased specialization places greater

responsibility on the architect to bridge the multitude of disciplines through education

and the development of strong management and communication skills throughout

the design process.

Going forward, the architect’s key role emerges as that of the integrator, bridging the

gap between the profession and those with whom it interacts. As creator and owner

of the vision which drives the enterprise, the architect is responsible for

communicating this to all stakeholders while assuming responsibility for the

leadership and direction of all who contribute to the final result. The architect’s 

evolving role consists not only of the need for a greater understanding of the

technologies used to achieve green design, but also a greater understanding of the

processes by which they design and integrate them. Only through integrating these

environmentally sustainable fundamentals and technologies into superior design,

can architects provide landmark sustainable structures. This represents the pathway

to the future for the profession.

Significantly, through its global and futuristic context, environmental sustainability

erodes the time-honoured sanctity of the architect-client relationship. Architects are

now being asked to think beyond simply the needs of the client, and consider global

environmental issues which even transcend the present. Now, incontrovertibly, the

architect is truly designing for posterity.

169 Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007 pp. 16

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 47

6. Bibliography

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Housing. Marrickville, Choice Books, 2003

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• Jackson, D & Johnson, C. Australian architecture now. London, Thames

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• Linz, K. BASEhabitat: die architektur. Austria, Roland Gnaiger, 2007.

• Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford; 2007.

• Richardson, P. XS green: big ideas, small buildings. London, Thames &

Hudson, 2007.

• Roaf, S. Ecohouse 2: A design guide. Oxford, Architectural Press, 2001.

• Roaf, S & David, C. Adapting buildings and cities for climate change: a

21st century survival guide. Burlington, Architectural Press, 2005.

• Samuels, R & Prased, DK. Global warming and the built environment.

London, E & FN Spon, 1994.

• Smith, P. Architecture in a climate of change: a guide to sustainable

design. Burlington, Architectural Press, 2005.

• Smith, P. Eco-refurbishment: a guide to saving and producing energy in

the home. Burlington, Architectural Press, 2004.

• Steele, J. Ecological Architecture: A critical history. London, Thames &

Hudson Ltd, 2005.

• Thomas, R. Environmental design: an introduction for architects and

engineers. New York, E & FN Spon, 2006.

• Trulove, JG, Greer, NR & Wedlick, D. Sustainable homes. New York,

HBI, 2001.

• Vale, B & Vale, R. The new autonomous house: design and planning for

sustainability. London, Thames & Hudson, 2000.

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 50

Journal & Newspaper Articles

• Bacich, E. ‘Positively Powerful: Energy efficient style’, In: Home & Style

Magazine. 1998. pp.46-55

• ‘Being green is important to attract tenants: survey.’ In: The West

Australian. pp.67, 19 September 2007.

• Commonwealth, States and Territories of Australia. ‘BCA assessment

methods’ In: Energy efficiency introductory awareness training.

Australian Building Codes Board, 2003.

• Eddin, P. ‘Floating houses built to survive Netherlands Floods’, In: The

San Francisco Chronicle. New York Times. 2005, November 9, pp.H0-4.

• Karol, Dr E. ‘Future Focus’, In: WA’s Best Homes; Architects, Builders &

Designers 2007. Perth. 2007. pp 47-55.

• Levell, D. ‘Opal central’, In: QANTAS the Australian Way. n.171, 2007,

September. Pp.48-54

• Morris-Nunn, R. ‘CH2 6 stars, but is it architecture?’, In: Architecture

Australia. v.96, n.1, 2007 Jan-Feb, pp.91-99

• Tan, S. ‘CH2 6 stars, but how does it work?’, In: Architecture Australia.

v.96, n.1, 2007 Jan-Feb, pp.101-104

• Tzannes, A. ‘Architecture as collective identity’, In: Architecture Australia.

V.96, n.4, 2007, July-Aug, pp.11

• Tzannes, A. ‘Building ideas and making buildings’, In: Architecture

Australia. V.96, n.5, 2007, Sept-Oct, pp.11

Internet Articles & Websites

• Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC): September

2007 Report.

• Association of Building Sustainability Assessors.

• http://www.absa.net.au/ July 2007.

• Baverstock, G. ‘House – Temperate – Perth’. 2003.

http://www1.sedo.energy.wa.gov.au/pages/her_case.asp August 2007.

• Carbon Cops, ABC TV, Bettenay & Fletcher Family, Episode 4.

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/carboncops/bettenays.htm August 2007.

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 51

• Climate Change and Energy.’ World Resources Institute,

http://www.igc.org/wri/climate/carboncy.html. August 2007.

• Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Sustainability Policy Unit. July

2007.

http://www.sustainability.dpc.wa.gov.au/docs/SustainabilityInformation.h

tm

• Martin, ST. ‘A home that rises with the water’, Times Senior

Correspondent. Saint Petersburg Times. November 7 2005. September

2007.

www.sptimes.com/2005/11/07/Worldandnation/A_home_that_rises_wit.s

html

• Master of Science in environmental architecture (MSc) Course Outline.

http://www.choose.murdoch.edu.au/postgrad/images/9/9a/MSc_Enviro

nmental_Arch.pdf August 2007.

• The Royal Australian Institute of Architects. ‘What does an architect

do?’ http://www.architecture.com.au/i-cms?page=778 September 10

2007.

• ‘Sanctuary’, Your Home Website. Subiaco Sustainable Development

Home. http://www.yourhome.goc.au August 2007

• Solomon, NB. 2007, Photovoltaic technology comes of age. Architectural

Record.

http://archrecord.construction.com/resources/conteduc/archives/0101p

hotovoltaic.asp August 2007.

• Sustainable Energy Development Office, Government of Western

Australia. http://www1.sedo.energy.wa.gov.au/ July 2007.

• http://www.akbild.ac.at/Portal/academyen/about-us. University history

home page 2/9/2007.

• “The University of Vienna was founded in 1365… and is therefore one of

the oldest universities in Europe.” http://www.univie.ac.at/University

history home page 2/9/2007.

• Tech University Vienna. University history home page.

http://www.tuwien.ac.at/tu_vienna/history/. 2/9/2007.

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 52

• http://www.dieangewandte.at/stories/storyReader$224. University

history home page 2/9/2007.

• WesBeam Laminated Veneer Lumber, ‘Nature meets technology

through human endevour’. http://www.wesbeam.com/news.php August

2007

Documentaries

• Carbon Cops: Episode 4 - The Bettenay and Fletcher Families. Aired on

ABC TV Tuesday the 17th July at 8.00pm, Melbourne, a December-Films

and Fremantle-Media Australia production.

• Louis Kahn, silence and light. 1995 (DVD) New York, A Michael

Blackwood Productions release.

• My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By

Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films.

• Subiaco sustainable demonstration home. 2006, (DVD), Subiaco, W.A.,

Sustainable energy development Office WA.

Interviews & Lectures

• Cullen, R. Owner of Cottesloe Hamersley House. Interview. 15

Hamersley St Cottesloe. 17/08/2007

• Griffin, P. Series of Architect in-class interviews. In ‘Professional Practice’.

notes March 21st 2007.

• Rosner, Dr U. 2007. Honours supervision meetings. At the University of

Western Australia, Crawley on semester 2 2007.

• Peterkin, Dr N. Executive. SEDO Phone Interview. 21st August 2007

• Stace, S. 2007, The ABC of Practice: Architect, Brief & Client. lecture

notes distributed in Professional Practice ARCT 5560 at the University of

Western Australia, Crawley on 28 March 2007.

• Questionnaire sent to UWA & Curtin Architecture Staff August 2007. See

appendix 6 for results & summary.

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 53

List of Illustrations

Footnoted under each image.

Page 6 ref 8 - Self-interpretation of Cybernetic theory - illustrating the

relationship between the architects role and concerns of society

Page 7 ref 11 - Human Impacts and Climate Change

Gore, A. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global

Warming and What We Can Do About It. Emmaus, Rodale, 2006 pp.

24, 80, 90

Page 14 ref 36 - Giza, Egypt - The great pyramids

Kstof, S. A history of architecture: settings and rituals. New York,

Oxford University Press, 1985.pp. 18

Page 20 ref 65 - The Dacca Assembly Building, Louis Kahn

Photos from: Louis Kahn, silence and light. 1995 (DVD) New York, A

Michael Blackwood Productions release

Page 24 ref 78 - The Netherlands before and after climate change rise in sea

levels

Gore, A. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global

Warming and What We Can Do About It. Emmaus, Rodale, 2006 pp.

202

Page 25 ref 82 - P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E

Hawthorn, C. Stang, A. The green house: new directions in

sustainable architecture. New York, Princeton Architectural Press,

2005 pp. 20

Page 26 ref 87 - Floating Houses, Art Zaaijer

Eddin, P. ‘Floating houses built to survive Netherlands Floods’, In:

The San Francisco Chronicle. New York Times. 2005, November 9,

pp.H0-4

Page 26 ref 88 – Floating City

Martin, ST. ‘A home that rises with the water’, Times Senior

Correspondent. Saint Petersburg Times. November 7 2005.

September 2007.

www.sptimes.com/2005/11/07/Worldandnation/A_home_that_rises_w

it.shtml

Page 28 ref 96 - Images of Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and antireflective

mesh coverings

Roaf, S & David, C. Adapting buildings and cities for climate change:

a 21st century survival guide. Burlington, Architectural Press, 2005 pp.

236

Page 30 ref 100 – Carpet Tile House by students of Rural Studio

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 54

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Books

• Anderson, B. Solar building architecture. London, MIT Press, 1990.

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environment. London, James & James, 2001.

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technical design guide. London, E & FN Spon, 2000.

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• Dean, AO. Rural Studio : Samuel Mockbee and an architecture of

decency. New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 2002.

• Design like you give a damn: architectural responses to humanitarian

crises. Edited by Architecture for Humanity. London, Thames & Hudson,

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• Edwards, B. Green buildings pay. London, E & FN Spon, 1998.

• Edwards, B & Hyett, P. Rough guide to sustainability. London, RIBA,

2001.

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architecture. Oxford , Butterworth-Heinemann, 1996.

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Change. Melbourne, Text Publishing Co, 2005.

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Thames & Hudson, 2003.

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Architecture in the 21st Century. New York, Princeton Architectural Press,

2002.

• Gore, A. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global

Warming and What We Can Do About It. Emmaus, Rodale, 2006.

• Guy, S. Sustainable architectures: Cultures and natures in Europe and

North America. New York, Spon Press, 2005.

• Hawthorn, C. Stang, A. The green house: new directions in sustainable

architecture. New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 2005.

• Hollo, N. Warm House Cool House: Inspirational Designs for low-energy

Housing. Marrickville, Choice Books, 2003

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• Jackson, D & Johnson, C. Australian architecture now. London, Thames

& Hudson, 2000.

• Kostof, S. The Architect: Chapters in the history of the profession. New

York, Oxford University Press, 1977.

• Kstof, S. A history of architecture: settings and rituals. New York, Oxford

University Press, 1985.

• Kwok, AG. The Green Studio Handbook: environmental strategies for

schematic design. Oxford ; Burlington, 2007.

• Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture, Dover Publications, 1985.

• Linz, K. BASEhabitat: die architektur. Austria, Roland Gnaiger, 2007.

• Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford; 2007.

• Richardson, P. XS green: big ideas, small buildings. London, Thames &

Hudson, 2007.

• Roaf, S. Ecohouse 2: A design guide. Oxford, Architectural Press, 2001.

• Roaf, S & David, C. Adapting buildings and cities for climate change: a

21st century survival guide. Burlington, Architectural Press, 2005.

• Samuels, R & Prased, DK. Global warming and the built environment.

London, E & FN Spon, 1994.

• Smith, P. Architecture in a climate of change: a guide to sustainable

design. Burlington, Architectural Press, 2005.

• Smith, P. Eco-refurbishment: a guide to saving and producing energy in

the home. Burlington, Architectural Press, 2004.

• Steele, J. Ecological Architecture: A critical history. London, Thames &

Hudson Ltd, 2005.

• Thomas, R. Environmental design: an introduction for architects and

engineers. New York, E & FN Spon, 2006.

• Trulove, JG, Greer, NR & Wedlick, D. Sustainable homes. New York,

HBI, 2001.

• Vale, B & Vale, R. The new autonomous house: design and planning for

sustainability. London, Thames & Hudson, 2000.

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 50

Journal & Newspaper Articles

• Bacich, E. ‘Positively Powerful: Energy efficient style’, In: Home & Style

Magazine. 1998. pp.46-55

• ‘Being green is important to attract tenants: survey.’ In: The West

Australian. pp.67, 19 September 2007.

• Commonwealth, States and Territories of Australia. ‘BCA assessment

methods’ In: Energy efficiency introductory awareness training.

Australian Building Codes Board, 2003.

• Eddin, P. ‘Floating houses built to survive Netherlands Floods’, In: The

San Francisco Chronicle. New York Times. 2005, November 9, pp.H0-4.

• Karol, Dr E. ‘Future Focus’, In: WA’s Best Homes; Architects, Builders &

Designers 2007. Perth. 2007. pp 47-55.

• Levell, D. ‘Opal central’, In: QANTAS the Australian Way. n.171, 2007,

September. Pp.48-54

• Morris-Nunn, R. ‘CH2 6 stars, but is it architecture?’, In: Architecture

Australia. v.96, n.1, 2007 Jan-Feb, pp.91-99

• Tan, S. ‘CH2 6 stars, but how does it work?’, In: Architecture Australia.

v.96, n.1, 2007 Jan-Feb, pp.101-104

• Tzannes, A. ‘Architecture as collective identity’, In: Architecture Australia.

V.96, n.4, 2007, July-Aug, pp.11

• Tzannes, A. ‘Building ideas and making buildings’, In: Architecture

Australia. V.96, n.5, 2007, Sept-Oct, pp.11

Internet Articles & Websites

• Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC): September

2007 Report.

• Association of Building Sustainability Assessors.

• http://www.absa.net.au/ July 2007.

• Baverstock, G. ‘House – Temperate – Perth’. 2003.

http://www1.sedo.energy.wa.gov.au/pages/her_case.asp August 2007.

• Carbon Cops, ABC TV, Bettenay & Fletcher Family, Episode 4.

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/carboncops/bettenays.htm August 2007.

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 51

• Climate Change and Energy.’ World Resources Institute,

http://www.igc.org/wri/climate/carboncy.html. August 2007.

• Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Sustainability Policy Unit. July

2007.

http://www.sustainability.dpc.wa.gov.au/docs/SustainabilityInformation.h

tm

• Martin, ST. ‘A home that rises with the water’, Times Senior

Correspondent. Saint Petersburg Times. November 7 2005. September

2007.

www.sptimes.com/2005/11/07/Worldandnation/A_home_that_rises_wit.s

html

• Master of Science in environmental architecture (MSc) Course Outline.

http://www.choose.murdoch.edu.au/postgrad/images/9/9a/MSc_Enviro

nmental_Arch.pdf August 2007.

• The Royal Australian Institute of Architects. ‘What does an architect

do?’ http://www.architecture.com.au/i-cms?page=778 September 10

2007.

• ‘Sanctuary’, Your Home Website. Subiaco Sustainable Development

Home. http://www.yourhome.goc.au August 2007

• Solomon, NB. 2007, Photovoltaic technology comes of age. Architectural

Record.

http://archrecord.construction.com/resources/conteduc/archives/0101p

hotovoltaic.asp August 2007.

• Sustainable Energy Development Office, Government of Western

Australia. http://www1.sedo.energy.wa.gov.au/ July 2007.

• http://www.akbild.ac.at/Portal/academyen/about-us. University history

home page 2/9/2007.

• “The University of Vienna was founded in 1365… and is therefore one of

the oldest universities in Europe.” http://www.univie.ac.at/University

history home page 2/9/2007.

• Tech University Vienna. University history home page.

http://www.tuwien.ac.at/tu_vienna/history/. 2/9/2007.

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 52

• http://www.dieangewandte.at/stories/storyReader$224. University

history home page 2/9/2007.

• WesBeam Laminated Veneer Lumber, ‘Nature meets technology

through human endevour’. http://www.wesbeam.com/news.php August

2007

Documentaries

• Carbon Cops: Episode 4 - The Bettenay and Fletcher Families. Aired on

ABC TV Tuesday the 17th July at 8.00pm, Melbourne, a December-Films

and Fremantle-Media Australia production.

• Louis Kahn, silence and light. 1995 (DVD) New York, A Michael

Blackwood Productions release.

• My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By

Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films.

• Subiaco sustainable demonstration home. 2006, (DVD), Subiaco, W.A.,

Sustainable energy development Office WA.

Interviews & Lectures

• Cullen, R. Owner of Cottesloe Hamersley House. Interview. 15

Hamersley St Cottesloe. 17/08/2007

• Griffin, P. Series of Architect in-class interviews. In ‘Professional Practice’.

notes March 21st 2007.

• Rosner, Dr U. 2007. Honours supervision meetings. At the University of

Western Australia, Crawley on semester 2 2007.

• Peterkin, Dr N. Executive. SEDO Phone Interview. 21st August 2007

• Stace, S. 2007, The ABC of Practice: Architect, Brief & Client. lecture

notes distributed in Professional Practice ARCT 5560 at the University of

Western Australia, Crawley on 28 March 2007.

• Questionnaire sent to UWA & Curtin Architecture Staff August 2007. See

appendix 6 for results & summary.

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 53

List of Illustrations

Footnoted under each image.

Page 6 ref 8 - Self-interpretation of Cybernetic theory - illustrating the

relationship between the architects role and concerns of society

Page 7 ref 11 - Human Impacts and Climate Change

Gore, A. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global

Warming and What We Can Do About It. Emmaus, Rodale, 2006 pp.

24, 80, 90

Page 14 ref 36 - Giza, Egypt - The great pyramids

Kstof, S. A history of architecture: settings and rituals. New York,

Oxford University Press, 1985.pp. 18

Page 20 ref 65 - The Dacca Assembly Building, Louis Kahn

Photos from: Louis Kahn, silence and light. 1995 (DVD) New York, A

Michael Blackwood Productions release

Page 24 ref 78 - The Netherlands before and after climate change rise in sea

levels

Gore, A. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global

Warming and What We Can Do About It. Emmaus, Rodale, 2006 pp.

202

Page 25 ref 82 - P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E

Hawthorn, C. Stang, A. The green house: new directions in

sustainable architecture. New York, Princeton Architectural Press,

2005 pp. 20

Page 26 ref 87 - Floating Houses, Art Zaaijer

Eddin, P. ‘Floating houses built to survive Netherlands Floods’, In:

The San Francisco Chronicle. New York Times. 2005, November 9,

pp.H0-4

Page 26 ref 88 – Floating City

Martin, ST. ‘A home that rises with the water’, Times Senior

Correspondent. Saint Petersburg Times. November 7 2005.

September 2007.

www.sptimes.com/2005/11/07/Worldandnation/A_home_that_rises_w

it.shtml

Page 28 ref 96 - Images of Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall and antireflective

mesh coverings

Roaf, S & David, C. Adapting buildings and cities for climate change:

a 21st century survival guide. Burlington, Architectural Press, 2005 pp.

236

Page 30 ref 100 – Carpet Tile House by students of Rural Studio

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 54

7. APPENDECIES

Appendix 1 – BCA Incorporation of ‘Energy Efficiency’ in house design.

Amended 1st July 2003 in WA to include provisions for domestic construction.

August separated into 8 climate zones or which the energy efficiency measures vary.

(tropical or cool temperate). WA is climate zone 5.170

- Building Fabric -

- Minimum R-value thermal performance of walls, roof, ceiling & Floor

- dictates required amount of insulation.

- Glazing -

- minimum R-value thermal performance and shading from the sun

- amount of eaves dictated by % of floor area and orientation (50% of

window area for North facing)

- Building Sealing -

- % Chimneys and exhaust fans must be fitted with dampers to control

draft

- Conditioned spaces must have all doors and windows sealed (louvres

accepted)

- skirtings, architraves and cornices are now required

- Air Movement -

- all habitable rooms must be provided ventilation openings to allow air

movement to limit need for artificial heating/cooling.

- based on area of ventilation openings % of floor area.

- Breezeway required by 2 openings max 20m apart.

- Services -

- Insulated piping and duct work required for all hot water, heating and

cooling, and central water heating systems.

170 Commonwealth, States and Territories of Australia. ‘BCA assessment methods’ In: Energy efficiency introductory awareness

training. Australian Building Codes Board, 2003

 

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 57

Appendix 2 - The Kyoto Protocol

www.KYOTOprotocol.com

- The Kyoto Protocol treaty was negotiated in December 1997 at the city of Kyoto,

Japan and came into force February 16th, 2005.

"The Kyoto Protocol is a legally binding agreement under which industrialized

countries will reduce their collective emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2%

compared to the year 1990 (but note that, compared to the emissions levels that

would be expected by 2010 without the Protocol, this target represents a 29% cut).

The goal is to lower overall emissions from six greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide,

methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, HFCs, and PFCs - calculated as an

average over the five-year period of 2008-12. National targets range from 8%

reductions for the European Union and some others to 7% for the US, 6% for Japan,

0% for Russia, and permitted increases of 8% for Australia and 10% for Iceland."

- Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are rising rapidly, and are now 25%

above where they were before the industrial revolution; the earths

atmosphere now contains some 200 gigatons more carbon than it did two

centuries ago.171

- Some Countries have agreed under the Kyoto Protocol to cut their

emissions of greenhouse gasses by 5.3% below 1990 levels by 2010. the

European union has set itself a tougher target of a 12.5 percent reduction

by the same deadline, while Britain is aiming for a 20% cut.

- An Italian Philosopher, “there is nothing more difficult to take in hand,

more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take a

lead in the introduction of a new order of things” (Niccolo Machiavelli,

1469-1527)

171 “Climate Change and Energy.” World Resources Institute, http://www.igc.org/wri/climate/carboncy.html.

 

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 58

 

Appendix 3 - Louis Kahn Case Study

20th Century Artist and a Monumental and Sustainable Architect

Louis Kahn was an architect and artist who strove to recreate the essence of

monumentality and permanence of the ancient Egyptian and Greek buildings.172 A

recent documentary, “My Architect: A Son’s Journey”, presents us with a vision of

him, as one of the few modern architects to embody what it used to mean to be an

architect in a glorious, bygone era.173 The documentary analyses the life and

achievements of Louis Kahn in a new light, seen from the perspective of his

illegitimate son. Nathaniel Kahn, rarely saw and barely knew his father, and was only

11 years old when he died. His five year search to fill this personal void and discover

who his father really was and what lasting impact his work achieved, takes him

through Northern America and around the world to Bangladesh.

The documentary develops the notion that the tragic details of the way Kahn died

were representative of his personal life out of the office, with three separate families,

who did not meet each other until his funeral. At the age of seventy-three Kahn died

alone, from a heart attack in a men’s toilet at Penn Station, New York. He was

essentially bankrupt, being half a million dollars indebt, and his body, lacking any

documents of identification, lay unclaimed for three days in the public morgue. His

unconventional and work-obsessed lifestyle, following on from a troubled childhood

is not an unusual pattern in the life of ‘great artists’. The Documentary suggests that

Kahn was one such troubled artist who was almost always absorbed by his projects

and had scant regard for convention, financial considerations and social mores.

At the young age of three Kahn’s face was burnt and permanently scarred in a

domestic accident. His childhood scars were not only physical but emotional,

suffering constant humiliation at school, where his nick-name was “scar face”, while

at home he was ‘left for dead’ by his embarrassed father. His mother, on the other

hand, believed his scarring would only encourage him to grow up to be a ‘great

man’. Kahn grew up in immense poverty, developing his artistic skills through

172 Louis Kahn, silence and light. 1995 (DVD) New York, A Michael Blackwood Productions release

173 My Architect: A Son's Journey. 2003 (DVD) New York, Directed By Nathaniel Kahn, In Association With HBO/Cinemax

Documentary Films

sketching, using burnt sticks as graphite pencils, until his talents were discovered.

Kahn and a close group of colleagues decided early in their studies in architecture,

that “Only architecture would be our life”. He graduated in architecture in 1924, yet it

wasn’t until the age of 50 that he came into his own and began to develop his most

memorable architecture. By the time his ideas were recognized and appreciated by

society, he had only ten years left to live.

At age fifty he was invited to be architect-In-Residence at the Academy of

Architecture in Rome. For the first time he was able to travel the world and it was

then, inspired by the ancient architecture of Greece and Egypt, that his passion and

creative vision, came to the fore. In 1947 he started his own practice, funded by his

wife Esther who worked in a science laboratory. While other architects of the era,

such as Mies Van der Rohe and Phillip Johnson, were designing steel skyscrapers

and houses defined by walls of glass, Kahn’s passion was design and “Build modern

buildings that have the feel and presence of ancient ruins.” To Kahn, “Work was the

most important thing; you cannot depend on human relations”. His buildings evoke a

sense of spirituality in their monumental nature.

Kahn designs were based upon symmetry, order, weight, and materials that last, with

the aim of creating monumental permanence. The acclaimed architects Phillip

Johnson and I. M. Pei describe Kahn as a ‘successful Artist’ who built, designed and

lived as an artist; “Three or four masterpieces is more important than fifty or sixty

buildings, - quality over quantity”.

The Salk Institute, completed in 1966, is one of his most renowned works epitomizing

his treatment of the project as a work of art with sculptural qualities. The client brief

from Dr Salk was for the design of a building that would be comfortable for both

scientists and artists, creating a presence of the ‘unreasonable’ and to inspire their

work. The design is not only a great work of art, but also far-surpasses the desires of

its occupants. It provides each scientist with an unobstructed view of the Pacific

Ocean while the form of the building creates an illusion of a façade by the way it

frames the ocean and sky surrounding the central plaza. Kahn’s technique to choose

to express the imperfections of his buildings and their materiality was first expressed

in this building. It highlighted these imperfections as ‘scars’ from the construction

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 60

and manufacturing processes, of which many critics have drawn as metaphor to his

childhood, and troubled artists life.

Louis Kahn’s Dacca

Kahn’s National Assembly in Dacca, Bangladesh, sits on 800 acres of free flat land,

subject to flooding. It took 23 years to build, the same length of time as the Taj

Mahal, and was only completed nine years after his death. During early construction

he taught the builders, local men and women, how to build a brick arch, as their first

attempts had been in his eyes “unacceptable”. Not only did he teach them through

joining them in the actual construction but he encouraged them to build with their

own time-honoured methods with a strong appreciation of his “religion of the

brickwork”. This is reflective of the importance to design to limitations, designing only

what the people can build and what they can be taught to build. Kahn’s teachings of

his building method, and ‘brick religion’ was extremely socially and culturally

sustainable, and environmentally sustainable in the way he taught them to use these

techniques to create shaded and exposed skins for their infrastructure of the new

nation.

Kahn was given an extensive programme of buildings to design for the new nation,

not only the Assembly building. He was also given the Supreme Court, Hostel,

Schools, a Stadium, a Diplomatic Enclave, a Domestic Living Sector, and Market,

and had to intensely consider how to group the buildings in a sustainable manor. He

did this by interpreting the Assembly building as a transcendent place, similar to the

ancient Egyptian Pyramid’s "place of ascendance" as discussed previously. The

occupants of the assembly leave to go to the mosque and pray 5 times a day.

Because of this he made it a superior for politicians to walk in to the building, and no

matter their bias, the building would encourage them to vote the ‘right’ way. He

achieved this by integrating the Mosque over the entrance to the assembly, so its

presence was intensely felt upon entering the building. By raising the assembly

parliament building above all the others, it becomes the supreme building, both of

religion and politics.

The design of the Assembly Building and layout of the city was “an image of a many

faceted stone constructed in concrete and marble”, where lakes, fountains and

gardens hold as a composition in balance. As Bangladesh is delta country, the

building had to be raised to protect it and its inhabitants from flood. Kahn’s concept

to solve this was by designing roads as bridges. During dry seasons citizens could

walk underneath, and in monsoon season above. On this design his chosen

materiality also served purpose in creating superior site-specific environmentally

sustainable building, with marble inserts placed every 5 feet, between each pour of

concrete to determine a water stop as the water levels rose. In addition Kahn realised

that the local construction technology was primitive by first-world standards, yet

found ways to use it to advantage and produce rare beauty, and I believe he knew

that if the ancient Egyptians could build the pyramids without the use of modern

industrial technology, he could build Dacca in the same way. By choosing to do so,

and only engaging the use of cranes once the concrete was drying by the time it

reached the height at which it was required, he successfully helped improve local

standards, and allowed the people who worked on the building to feel as though it

was a part of them.

Professor Shamsul Wares, a distinguished Bangladesh architect and former

professor at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, refers to

Kahn’s design for the National Assembly as Kahn giving the people democracy,

through providing them with the institution to house democracy. Recognizing the

anomaly of that the National Assembly was “the largest project he had…in the

poorest country in the world”, he believed that it was Kahn’s immense love for the

people that created the magnificence of the building.

Although the people of Bangladesh did not offer him wealth or a beautiful historical

pristine city to work with, they gave him something that as an artist he treasured

more, a wildly expansive blank canvas. A canvas where he could have free reign over

what was built, and thousands of devoted, hard working supporters. Because of the

huge scale of the project, what was built was destined to leave a substantial

impression. For Kahn, who embodied and epitomized what it truly meant to be an

artist and architect, this opportunity represented the most important in his life.

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Appendix 4 – Professional Practice Regulations

The RAIA guiding objectives:

􀂃 Design: Aspire to excellence in Architectural Design

􀂃 Professional Service: provide quality professional service

􀂃 Integrity: act with integrity

􀂃 Public Interest: serve and promote public Interest

􀂃 Environment: environmentally responsible

􀂃 Continuing Education: engage in continuing education

The UIA Accord of international standards calls for; Expertise through education and

training; Autonomy, by acting outside of self interest, unbiased professional

judgment; Commitment to serve clients in a competent and professional manner;

and Accountability through independent advice to clients, and to accept work only if

suitably qualified or experienced.174

174 The Royal Australian Institute of Architects. ‘What does an architect do?’ http://www.architecture.com.au/i-cms?page=778

September 10 2007

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 63

Appendix 5 – Cottesloe Hamersley House

Cullen, R. Owner of Cottesloe Hamersley House. Interview. 15 Hamersley St

Cottesloe. 17/08/2007

Architect Paul Hoffman

Design Completed 1996

Client Ric Cullen

The house is a combination of a “solar and beachy theme” with rammed earth

walls, curved ceilings and plenty of fun environmental gadgets. At the time of

construction, the cost for the devices to convert and send power back into the

power grid cost around 35 thousand dollars. Reflective Glass was used on the

highly glazed western façade to allow for the beach views with increased thermal

lag. Shortly after construction the house was fitted with a grey-water recycling

device that reticulates the garden. It was the first house in the metropolitan area to

have such a device. The design reused the jarrah floor boards from the neighbours’

demolished house. The house has electronic external blinds, louvers and natural

ventilation, all operable from a captain’s deck in the core of the living areas. The

house has recycling tube shutes that lead directly to the garage and recycling bins.

The house won an architecture award in 1997. The Client is intending to install wind

turbines to generate more power at a future date.

Images taken at site visit and interview showing respectively from top left - ‘Street

Elevation’, ‘Living areas with operable louvres, curved ceiling & northern orientation’,

‘Rammed earth exterior from garden’, ‘Captains controls for operable lighting, ventilation

and shades’, and ‘The grey water recycling system and flower bed.’

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 64

 

 

Appendix 6 – Questionnaire Results & Summary

Questionnaire was sent to all teaching staff that are architects or landscape

architects at UWA and Curtin University. (Registered or not)

A questionnaire sent to staff at UWA revealed that students are graduating with

insufficient education or understanding of environmental design. This is consistent

with a view that much knowledge and understanding is gained and developed

through working in the field. The Lecturing Architects at UWA who participated

generally accept that human activity and the design/building/construction industry are

large contributors to carbon production and climate change. Although none have lost

clients due to lack of ESD principles, they do agree that it is an emerging threat. They

also see a threat through the unmanageable addition of the sustainability consultant

and question their worth against the traditional role of the architect, and believe there

is not a need for them as architects should be designing sufficiently. They believe the

sustainability epidemic/trend will only increase in the near future, as climate change

worsens. They also see the profession’s services continuing to narrow and becoming

more detailed in specific areas.

For Questionnaire example and answers please see pages following.

10323410 The impact of environmental sustainability on the role of the architect 65

Appendix 7 – Carbon Cops Episode Summary

Episode 4, aired on Tuesday the 17th July at 8.00pm, follows the Bettenay and

Fletcher Families who have moved into a luxurious rental home together to save

money while they design and build adjoining townhouses for the two couples, on a

subdivided block of land. Unfortunately they chose the wrong house to rent, as its

gym, heated swimming pool, spa, sauna, tennis courts, cinema, TVs, music studio,

vast ‘warehouse-like’ spaces, lack of doors, and large air conditioners (to

compensate for poor design), cause the families to pay more than 4 times the rent

just in resource bills, and produce 95 tonnes of carbon emissions annually,

compared to the average Australian household that produces 14 tonne a year. The

Carbon Cops encouraged them to reduce their annual emissions to 44 tonnes,

reducing their annual resource bills by around $10,000.175

Middleton’s design, along with substantially reducing the footprint of the

townhouses, also captures the south-westerly breeze over the site at the top of the

staircase with louvres, feeding it into the house and releasing it out of the study on

the ground floor and into the courtyard. The benefits of placing living areas upstairs,

to capture maximum daylight when building in a dense mostly 2-storeyed

neighborhood, are also introduced by Middleton. This stack-effect created by the

central stair along with a few other passive design principles enhances the building

envelope performance by 50%.

The episode closes with the families stating, “We are now committed and dedicated

to go down this path…and excited about it”, and they continue by expressing their

joy, in creating a better environment for their children and grandchildren.

Images from episode showing ‘reducing the footprint’, ‘the stack effect and natural ventilation’, and ’the new 6 star design’176

175 Carbon Cops, ABC TV, Bettenay & Fletcher Family, Episode 4.

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/carboncops/bettenays.htm August 2007.

176 Carbon Cops: Episode 4 - The Bettenay and Fletcher Families. Aired on ABC TV Tuesday the 17th July at

8.00pm, Melbourne, a December-Films and Fremantle-Media Australia production.

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