Pune: Architects need to look for paradigm shifts in architecture and develop new ways of thinking about design that will transform the approach at a systemic level and help reach sustainability in a world which is going through climate emergency opined various experts during the third and last session on ‘The Way Forward as a Profession within a Climate Changing World’.

The event was conducted by the Department of Environmental Architecture and Planning, BNCA in collaboration with the Indian Network on Ethics and Climate Change (INECC) and LAYA.

The session was conducted under Towards Low-Carbon Climate Resilience: How Architects Can Deliver Change initiative. This three-part online series was conducted in an effort to increase awareness about sustainable architecture, its impact on the environment, and climate change.

The panelists included Prof Rob Fleming, Director, MS in Sustainable Design, Thomas Jefferson University, and Dr Satish Kumar, President, and Executive Director, Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE).

The session was conducted under the guidance of Dr Anurag Kashyap, Principal, BNCA and coordinated by Prof Prajakta Kulkarni. Prof Namrata Dhamankar was in the organising team. The webinar was moderated by Dr Sujata Karve, Head of Department, M.Arch. (Environmental Architecture), BNCA.

Dr AjitaTiwari, National Facilitator, INECC started off the session by discussing the role of architects in the climate response. She suggested mitigation, adaption, finance, and capacity building as the key drivers that will pave the way forwards towards a sustainable future.

Prof Rob Fleming, Director, MS in Sustainable Design, Thomas Jefferson University was the first speaker. He spoke about the importance of adapting changes around sustainability, social equity and evidence-based design in architectural curriculum.

He said, “If we change the way we think, we will change the way we design. However, we have not yet changed the way we think as we still operate out of an industrial world view based on fossil fuels. We should move on to a new world view based on regenerative design and renewable energy. We cannot afford to adopt incremental solutions. Instead, we need to look for paradigm shifts in architecture and develop new ways of thinking about design. We have to think about how the very foundation of our systems has been unsustainability. We should also think about how a new system can be developed that will allow us to reach sustainability.”

“Architects should have empathy across differences because even if they are working on a building scale, their decisions are going to have an impact on a global scale. Every line that an architect draws represents an ethical decision about what their building will do to the future of the planet. Therefore, we need to make sustainable decisions as we are going through a climate emergency, not climate change. We have begun our advent into the age of integration by recognizing the importance of being integrated with nature and co-evolving with the natural world. Sustainability should not only be accessible to the wealthy It is important to grasp and implement concepts like justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in architecture”, he further added.

Dr Satish Kumar, President and Executive Director, Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE) said, “This the decade in which we need to act fast and aim towards building resilient buildings, reduce greenhouse emissions, water sufficiency, and build net-zero energy buildings as well. Architecture curriculum must focus on topics related to climate emergencies and ways to counter it such as sustainability, resilient technologies, research and mitigation.”

“We need to become better communicators in order to facilitate important conversations surrounding architecture and climate change. The climate change debate has unfolded in such a way, currently, that it has left little room for discussion and adaptation. Hence, communication and rethinking are two most important skills that the future generation of architects need to have. We need to start having difficult conversations, learn from our mistakes, and equip ourselves with the right tools in order to be successful in our fight against climate change,” he further added.

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