Top UK architects declare climate emergency

Seventeen Stirling Prize winners, including Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects, have released a declaration calling on UK architects to create “architecture and urbanism that has a more positive impact on the world around us”.

Architects Declare, a UK-based commitment, is a rallying cry for architecture firms to take action on what it calls the “twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity”. With buildings and construction accounting for nearly 40 per cent of energy-related CO2 emissions, the built environment is a major contributor to these crises. Launched by 17 Stirling Prize winners, the declaration has well over 400 signatories to date.

In order to stay within the earth’s ecological boundaries, Architects Declare proposes several action points, such as reducing construction waste, using low embodied carbon materials, and upgrading existing buildings for extended use as a more carbon efficient alternative to demolition and new build where possible.

But it also calls for an ambitious shift beyond the current standard of net zero carbon to one based on regenerative design practices and principles, in which buildings renew their own resources: “Together with our clients, we will need to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system.”

The 17 founding signatories are Alison Brooks Architects, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, AL_A, Caruso St John Architects, David Chipperfield Architects, dRMM, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Foster + Partners, Haworth Tompkins, Hodder + Partners, Maccreanor Lavington, Michael Wilford, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, Stanton Williams, WilkinsonEyre, Witherford Watson Mann, and Zaha Hadid Architects.

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