Buildings are a human necessity – both functionally and culturally. Functionally, they provide the spatial and environmental context for human activities – providing sufficient space and comfort conditions consistent with the task in hand are essential design requirements. Culturally, buildings provide a manifestation of the aspirations and technological capabilities of the society to which they belong. Buildings also embody the attitudes and priorities that their owners and designers have toward the natural world and broader environmental issues. International attention and concern for global warming will eventually translate into increasing political intent and commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pressing environmental issues. This will translate into more demanding environmental policy and subsequently into more demanding regulations and environmental performance requirements for buildings. Concurrently, the changing environmental context will act as a catalyst for the building industry to voluntarily offer environmental solutions – either to remain competitive within the market or, more ideally, as a result of an increasing ethical commitment to environmental responsibility. Leading edge b uildings embodying creative and innovative environmental strategies demonstrate performance benefits that can initially inform and eventually influence mainstream practice. Scott [1998] notes that if a certain agenda, such as environmental responsibility or sustainability is absorbed into the design process, “somewhere down the line it manifests itself in the formal composition of the building’s physical and spatial parts.” Beyond this, it is also reasonable to speculate that within any transition to a sustainable future we will have to more fundamentally reassess human values, expectations and priorities and to reconfigure our political, economic and social systems accordingly. Architects can and must offer leadership in environmental responsibility withi n this evolving environmental context. The range of projects presented in this exhibition is considerable, as is the extent and ways that environment strategies have been executed. But collectively they illustrate the shaping of an architecture that begins to re-establish environmental issues as a significant and integral part of the process and practice of architecture. Ray Cole School of Architecture Scott, A., (1998) Introduction: A Time for Change and Innovation, IN: Dimension of Sustainability, Ed. A. Scott, E & FN Spon: London
source: Doors to Sustainability 2001 See also XlnkS43E

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