Sustainability encompasses more than producing an environmentally friendly built environment and ticking off boxes on lists of minimum requirements: it is a design fundamental, underpinning a great deal of what makes architecture beneficial for society. A sustainable built environment balances careful and appropriate use of finite natural resources whilst addressing the needs of the people who are set to use it; it is an investment in our collective future without the compromise of any one person or the planet.
Despite this, recent studies show that buildings are accountable for a great deal of damage done to the environment and to our health; we have a long way to go in embedding sustainable design in standard practice. Has ‘public interest’ disappeared from the lexicon of planning and policy in favour of purely ‘economic interest’? Should architects be held to a higher moral standard than other ‘creative’ professions? Do we play devil’s advocate, or do we push for a ‘greater good’?
Whilst other professional codes of conduct clearly call for protection of the natural environment and encourage societal benefit, the Architects’ Code only stipulates that the wider impact of one’s work should be “considered”. This workshop shall discuss broadening our horizons beyond ourselves and our clients and start an overdue conversation on ethical standards within our profession.
The DISCOURSE workshops series form part of the GIA's new Strategy Committee consultations on the forthcoming RIAS 5 Year Plan.
Find out more about the GIA Strategy Committee here.