World Architects on Climate Crisis – Part VII

“The world continues to sleep… cities are sinking one after another.” – Johnny D, Editor-in-Chief dated 15th August 2022

The world has been in the grimmest situation with floods, flash floods, landslides, wildfires, extreme heat, hailstorms, hurricanes and other climatic catastrophes wreaking havoc in various cities, villages, provinces and countries since the mid of May 2022. Thousands of lives lost, billions of dollars of property in tatters and nations’ crops and infrastructures battered in the unprecedented manner – ironically, the never-ending onslaught of the nature’s wrath has not at all affected even one bit, as the world and leaders of the world continue to sleep.

Less than 2% of the total monthly climatic catastrophes are being reported in the national and international media. The only countries that get highlighted on the international media are China, Europe and the USA – as if other countries’ sufferings and devastation has no real standing or are insignificant on the global scenario. If not for the social media, concerned or curious citizens and vloggers, the world would have never known how various nations are coping with climatic catastrophes.

The extreme weather has been drying world’s rivers like Colorado River – USA, the Yangtze River – CHINA, the Rhine River – GERMANY, the River PO – ITALY, the Loire River – FRANCE and the Danube River – EUROPE. There is also drastic famine in Tigray, Ethiopia apart from the ongoing deadly civil war. Isn’t it ironical that while rivers of the world are drying up, there are so many countries facing deadly floods, flash floods, unprecedented rains and hailstorms?

A recent graduate from the Manchester School of Architecture, Romanian architect Andreea Rusu rightly points out about the global failure to address the ‘Climate Crisis’ issue in a serious manner. In our GEN Z Series interview, Andreea Rusu elucidated a very valid point that I wish will be taken very seriously by the leaders of the world.

“As architects or aspiring architects, we are currently utilizing and emphasizing a variety of strategies to combat this global issue. I think the main problem is not within the architectural field, but with the general population. We cannot force clients to see the importance of sustainable options in a design. Similarly to the philosophy of my project (where the solution to addiction is not coercion, but education), I believe we must start by advocating for stronger means of climate change education in schools.

Andreea Rusu

A significant part of the problem is that people simply are not aware to what extent the problem is serious. It is no longer enough for the architect to be proficient in sustainable strategies. Only when the clients will be educated on the topic too, will the conversation truly change.” – ANDREEA RUSU – 2022 graduated Architect, Manchester School of Architecture, UK

In spite of the world being tormented by natural disasters on a daily affair, the world seems to take their lives for granted. Ask those, who have lost their loved ones, lost everything, their houses, belongings, shops – well the destruction and massive devastation, and the post-cleaning efforts after floods, landslides, earthquakes or storms can not only be cumbersome, but also very traumatic in nature.

The Government of Seoul is the first nation in the world to ban cellar homes and parking areas in the city after the terrible recent floods. However, it will be ‘the’ big litmus test for the government officials to relocate 200,000 families from the ‘banjiha’ (cellar flats). This is perhaps the beginning of a strong and effective action. I wish more countries, where floods have become a daily affair, will start implementing this stance to ban underground parking, shops, offices or flats in their respective nations.


Dams play a very significant role to further escalate the flood situation in most of the nations around the world. Whenever there are unprecedented heavy rains and rivers cross their respective danger levels, the easiest alternative for the dams’ management team is to open the flood gates, most of the times unannounced, to release the massive volume of excess water to safeguard the dams from collapsing due to water pressure. The result of this flawed dams’ management was really never thought of when the dams were and is being designed and built.

The devastation of the low lying areas in the line of dams’ water release becomes terrible to increase their woes during floods. The world have seen and experienced horrible devastation in multiple countries as houses submerge, cattle die, lives lost, farm fields destroyed and vehicles float in the massive release of water from the dams during unprecedented heavy rains. If only every State in the world had really put a serious thought while designing and building dams as to how effectively they could release excess volume of water during such natural emergencies – millions of lives, thousands of houses and billions worth of crops would have been saved in the past decades, and not forgetting billions of dollars.

Logically speaking, the simple and the most effective architectural or engineering design would be to have huge underground network of pipelines to release the excess volume of water to far away dried river beds, thereby reviving dried rivers during such emergency situations, instead of just opening the flood gates unannounced. Think about it seriously, how effectively this simple design innovation would save lives, properties, crops, billions of dollars and cattle during flood situation rather than escalating the traumatic experiences. If we can develop thousands of miles of underground tunnels under the seabed to connect France with England for a tube rail, is this simple design innovation really difficult?

I wish serious thoughts are put in by dams’ expert engineers and architects to implement zerobeyond’s design innovation into their designs to save lives and property of their respective nations. I know, the world really has no time left whatsoever to control the end of the world, because of climate crisis – but we surely can make an attempt to delay and avoid the devastation during flood situations in coming years. The ‘will’ to safeguard and better our lives is the need of the hour. The sooner, the better!

‘Climatic Catastrophes’ have become a daily occurrence in the recent times. How will architects of the present generation safeguard the community from such catastrophic disasters?

This question should haunt every single mind in the world, if we really wish to do something concrete and effective to safeguard our civilization from being drowned completely. Young and talented Indonesian architect Aloysia Griselda rightly points out that we must first start from the smallest thing – the ‘cause’ of climatic catastrophes.

“Understanding architecture means to understand every other aspects of life, including how humans’ daily life affects the earth’s climate. Before dealing with the climatic catastrophes, we must first start from the smallest thing, which is the ‘cause’ of it. A good architect can manage humans to live in more environment-friendly way to prevent environmental damage.

When designing projects, architects must be able to understand the conditions and the possibility of climate change or natural disasters that can occur in the region. So designs can be made in harmony with the climate, made semi-permanent with an easy construction and demolition system to face effects of climate change, and make them ‘mobile’ to move and adapt easily in various places, etc.” – ALOYSIA GRISELDA – Architectural Designer at An Atelier for Architectural Design, Jakarta, Indonesia

Feature Photo: Kathi Richards

To be continued…..

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