We are an open collaboration of members of the building sector, initiated by graduates of Architecture and Civil Engineering.
We – the Architects for Future - are identifying ourselves with the Fridays for Future movement.
We want to encourage and support the students who are participating in the Fridays for Future movement. We see our task in redirecting the building industry into a more sustainable future.
Demolition not only wastes precious and shrinking resources, but the process also wastes a significant amount of energy. When considering the whole life cycle, renovations to an existing building are preferred over a new building. The input of the embodied energy during demolition outweighs the reduction of energy use of the new building, even if it is built to passive house standards.
We can either choose cheap, foreign materials such as tropical wood, PVC coatings, artificial resins, chemical solvents, or more sustainable options. Sustainable alternatives are regional and renewable. The choice of building materials heavily influences the health of the building users, and our environment.
Many decisions regarding whether to build are being made with regards to financial opportunities and therefore prioritising investor’s profits. The comfort and use of spaces are being treated as secondary. Architects should continually question who we are designing and building for.
In addition to choosing renewable materials such as wood, straw, sheep’s wool or flax, Architects must use materials with a closed life cycle. These materials can be dismantled without destruction and can be reused elsewhere. Therefore, the building does not depreciate but at the end of its life it can be dismantled, and the parts can be sold and reused.
The majority of the time construction materials are not recycled but downcycled, which results in the deterioration of their quality and function. An example of this is the current reuse of rubble in road work construction, which was previously more valuable as bricks or concrete. This downcycling must be counteracted by using closed material cycles which can be reused.
When buildings do have to be demolished, building materials must be recorded systematically and regained for reuse in another building project. Primary commodities are limited, therefore it is inevitable to use secondary materials. Adding recycled concrete to create concrete for a new building will decrease the amount of primary commodities for instance.
Building works are often accompanied by an enormous land consumption which destroys valuable habitats of animals and plants. Impervious surfaces lose the use for food production, local recreation and rainwater infiltration. Responsible planning cannot only reduce the destruction of nature but could also promote biodiversity and healthy environments.
We want to publish our demands to the public, and together bring the topic to offices and building sites. We are grateful for the support shown by everyone who signs the Architects for Future mission statement. This illustrates how important the change of the building industry is and how many people are watching the future of architecture. Architects for Future will work within the industry as well as with the public to achieve progress towards sustainable changes to the building industry.