A group of leading Australian architects have recently joined their international peers to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency. The 11-point declaration acknowledges the twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss as the most serious issue of our time.
Architects Declare Australia was launched on Thursday 25 July with 30 founding signatories, including 11 Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medalists. The global initiative was launched by leading architects in the UK in May 2019.
National President, Professor Helen Lochhead affirmed, ‘The climate crisis is the critical challenge of our times.
‘The Australian Institute of Architects endorses Architects Declare Australia. We know that buildings and construction play a huge part in our energy and resource consumption, environmental depletion and waste, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of Greenhouse Gas (CO2) emissions. We know that as architects, we can do something about this through the decisions we make on a daily basis.
‘Together with our clients, we can develop and design buildings, cities and infrastructure that reset the paradigm. We can strengthen our work practices to create architecture and urbanism that has a more positive impact on the world around us.
‘Importantly, as architects, we have a duty of care to the entire community, acknowledged in our code of conduct.
‘The Australian Institute of Architects commits to taking action to support our members to effect change,’ Professor Lochhead said.
‘This is a powerful show of collective action,’ says Australian Institute of Architects’ CEO Julia Cambage. ‘At the Institute, our role is to provide leadership on the issues that matter to our members and the broader community. We intend to put the full weight of the Institute behind this issue to show how architects can make a difference.’
The Australian Institute of Architects is developing an action plan to deliver on this commitment. This plan will look at reducing the Institute’s carbon footprint operationally and reviewing how the awards program benchmarks best practice. It will review continuing professional development (CPD) and how the Institute’s policy and advocacy work can influence a consistently high quality, more regenerative, more sustaining built environment.
‘We intend to work with our international peers, the RIBA and the AIA, to create a local and global response to this call to action,’ Ms Cambage said.