How architects can contribute to fighting climate change

The United Nations warned that humanity has 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or risk catastrophic changes to the planet.

As climate change is becoming an emergency matter, architects around the world are calling to adopt a “shift in behaviour” to save the planet. Building sustainable cities are the best way to combat climate change but it's not enough.

prototype for a shared living space for the Tokyo real estate company Daito Trust Constru designed by Sou Fujimoto

Image: Prototype for a shared living space for the Tokyo real estate company Daito Trust Constru designed by Sou Fujimoto. Image Source

Buildings are now built with five or six-star sustainability design factors in mind like energy consumption, carbon footprint, minimizing waste management, water recycling, light fitting. Architects need to adopt new building technologies and materials while understanding the nature of the uneven costs and benefits of adaptation. 

But it is not enough just to build sustainable buildings. Architects now talk more and more about promoting the circular economy and how to be regenerative. The regenerative design should become compulsory. Rethinking how to make things, the way we use materials that are easy to use again and again. We should always consider what happens when our product comes to the end of its used period.


Modified shipping containers are being used to construct Fenwick Iribarren Architects' Ras Abu Aboud stadium in Doha for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. Image Source

Architects should be advocates for a real shift in behaviour in the leading of sustainability.  It should start with sustainable labour practices. To expand these initiatives, architects need to engage in policymaking and legislation. They must act as a bridge between communities and policymakers.

Banner photo by Aleksandar Pasaric