World Architects on Climate Crisis – Part III

“Human greed, thy synonym is ‘Climate Change’!” – Johnny D, Editor-in-Chief – 25th May 2022

In the month of May 2022 itself, the world has experienced severe climatic variation. Temperatures reaching as high as 50° C in Rajasthan in India and Pakistan – floods in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Spain, Brazil – Pernambuco and Alagoas; Honduras – Tegucigalpa; India – Bangalore, Kerala, Assam; Ghana – Accra; snow in the Saudi desert; tornadoes and hurricanes in Germany, Brazil, India and America; frequent sandstorms in Iraq and snowstorms in Jordan, Kuwait Boston; huge hails in Italy – Cremona; France –Châteauroux; 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Peru – Azangaro; Mexico, Japan – are not only just a few nations affected in catastrophic proportions, but also there are many other nations where climatic disasters have become a every week phenomena in the recent years.

Affected Nations in the month of August 2020

Yes, the international news media have shut their eyes, ears, mouth and not forgetting the least – their conscience as the fourth pillar of a State to report these catastrophic disasters as it happens. One will never hear about all the above-mentioned climatic disasters in national or international media. Google ‘daily natural disasters’ and you will find hundreds of videos, mainly recorded by concerned citizen or citizen to create their vlogs.

In each International Climate Summit, the years to cut carbon emission gets extended by 5 to 10 years ahead with no concrete steps being taken by the respective nations of the world. As usual, the developed nations blame the developing and poor nations and vice-versa – and then all is forgotten to satiate the greed of the incorporations. Millions are dying and losing their houses and belongings due to climatic disasters each year. And yet, the leaders of the world are still in their deep slumber mode!

I have Recorded the Statistics with my Research Work

The ongoing war on Ukraine by Russia has exposed the European nations, NATO’s nations, UK, USA, Australia, Japan, Russia and many others. Well, this happens to be the latest ongoing war. There are ongoing wars in Syria, Yemen, various African nations – and what will one achieve except destruction – more destruction and more destruction of lives, property and the nations! Every nation in the world has so much money – billions and billions of dollars of WMDs to destruct another nation(s), but, when it comes of safeguarding our Planet Earth – every nation is hard-pressed to allocate less than 2% of its total military budget.

A Poem I had Written in 2007

‘Destruction’ has become more significant than ‘Safeguarding’ our Planet Earth – all because of human greed. It is the human greed, which has created the monstrous Climate Crisis. Our future on Earth is doomed!

Every time I interview architects from all over the world, I ask them: Is modern architecture equipped to overcome the disastrous climatic effects to make ‘Cities of the Future’ safe and livable?

RDR Architects’ Partner and Director Morandu Facundo enlightened us with his straight from the heart views.

Morando Facundo

“I believe that the construction in the last years has collaborated in the contamination and therefore in the climatic reactions. We must have greater awareness. Recover good habits, go back to the history of architecture, and rethink those solutions that benefit from the climate and do not ignore it. The solutions are at our fingertips. We must just go back to the books and stop thinking that air-conditioning solves everything.” – Morando Facundo, Partner and Director, RDR Architects, Buenos Aires and Lausane

Steve Leung, Founder of Steve Leung Design Group has another perspective to tackle climate crisis.

Steve Leung

“To me, design is far beyond mere aesthetics and functionality, but a powerful tool to tackle societal and environmental challenges for the greatest good of our communities and our planet. For example, the employment of eco-friendly, reusable building materials and finishing, creating more green spaces, encouraging heritage preservation and revitalization etc. These are the things that each designer can ease the societal and environmental challenges through professional designs.

I am recently witnessing how the interior design industry is becoming more and more dedicated to fully embrace design principles of sustainability and well-being that proactively encourage eco-friendly and holistic lifestyles. Design will play a more defined and crucial role in dealing with today’s environmental challenges, with green building standards like LEED and WELL increasingly considered and adopted in the near future.” – Steve Leung, Founder, Steve Leung Design Group Ltd, Kowloon Bay – Hong Kong

German architect – Co-Founder of 2408 Studio Bennet Marburger believes change is possible and will come in the field of architecture to safeguard our Planet Earth.

Bennet Marburger

“Speaking in general, architecture and urbanism are the problems rather than the solution. The construction sector consumes, way too much, resources and neither the cities nor the buildings are designed to effectively respond to nature. In our projects, we often find that the status quo is far away from the actual need. At the same time, it is very easy to improve the situation. This leaves me quite optimistic that change is possible and will come.” – Bennet Marburger, Co-Founder, 2408, Hangzhou – China

OMA’s Partner and Asia Head Chris van Duijn puts his perspective perfectly and suggests what respective nation’s government and policy makers should implement to safeguard Planet Earth.  

Chris van Duijn

“I do not think that architects per se are the key to the solution. I believe that most architects consider sustainable design a natural part of the design, similar to the need to integrate a building’s structure in their design. The entire industry needs to set new priorities together with governments, local authorities, developers and planners. We should be more critical, whether we really need to build more buildings everywhere, need to urbanize more and whether we should expand cities or revitalize their existing parts. We should think on the largest possible scale before asking architects to drop trees on the roof.” – Chris van Duijn, Partner and Asia Head, OMA

Mexican architect – Founder of SpAce Juan Carlos Baugartner makes no bones to insist that the architecture sector contributes significantly towards the deterioration of Planet Earth.

Juan Carlos Baugartner

“I believe that the immediate responsibility is to reduce the impact of our work on the environment. Architecture produces around 70% of polluting gases and is one of the industries that have the greatest impact on the deterioration of the planet. A country that wants to have a sustainable society will have to include those who build, design and administer architecture.” – Juan Carlos Baugartner, Founder, SpAce, Mexico City – Mexico

The series “World Architects on Climate Crisis” will not end here. We have seen how renowned experienced architects of the world have shared their thoughts and views for respective nation’s government to act expeditiously to safeguard Planet Earth. In the next ‘Part’, I will put forward thoughts of the younger generation of architects’ views on Climate Crisis. It is certainly way-way too late to wake up from our deep slumber. Our global platform ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ is committed to generate awareness all over the world about ‘Climate Crisis’!

To be continued…..

Image Courtesy: The Architects / Johnny D

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