Architecture, ethics and sustainability - an exploration
Mellersh-Lucas, S. J., de Jong, Ursula and Fuller, Robert 2006, Architecture, ethics and sustainability - an exploration, in ANZAScA 2006 : Challenges for architectural science in changing climates: proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Architectural Science Association, University of Adelaide and Architectural Science Association, Adelaide, S. Aust., pp. 350-357.
Globally we are grappling with the concept of sustainability. What does it mean and how should we respond to ensure that the planet and its ecosystems survive? While the problem of living in a sustainable way must be addressed by all sectors of society, architects are arguably in the 'front line' because of the impact of buildings in terms of resource use and waste generation. Most definitions of sustainability are unhelpful because of their wordiness, lack of detail or ambiguity. Others distort the concept of sustainability to allow business-as-usual (i.e. unsustainable) activity to continue. Using one particular model of sustainability, this paper explores the apparent contradictions between architectural practice in the residential sector, 'sustainable' housing and the desire to behave ethically. The paper begins with definitions of sustainability and ethics, together with some guiding principles. The literature examining the ethics of sustainable architecture is then reviewed. Two indicators are suggested to make a broad-brush assessment of sustainability. Current practice in Australian residential architectural design, both mainstream and 'green', is then critiqued against these indicators. Finally, some practical options for a practising architect faced with a client, who wants an 'unsustainable' house, are briefly explored.
Field of Research
129999 Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified
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