In a world where architecture is not one of the world's most polluting industries, it would have a positive impact on both people and the planet. We've long celebrated architecture and design's changemakers, those looking toward eco-friendly and informed ways of building our cities and towns.
We chose hope over despair when climate-related news brought a lot of anxiety and disasters. The visionaries who dare to imagine and then help build a different kind of future were the inspiration we sought. Landscape architects working with nature to better our cities, showcased architects returning to ancient building practices, and celebrated the ingenuity of designers breaking the boundaries of imagination by turning solar panels into art were some of the things we talked about.
Some of architecture and design's most exciting ideas are here.
The idea that China's monsoon climate is incompatible with the country's adoption of Western urbanisation models was proposed by a Harvard graduate in 1997. Yu believed that the removal of natural organic matter from cities and the swap of soil for concrete led to devastating flooding. Nature can help prevent disasters if we let it be.
The tragic flood in Beijing in 2012 made local authorities rethink Yu's ideas. The term "sponge cities" is unique to Yu and is national policy.
In August, we looked at the origins of Yu's sponge cities, some of the architects applying the green city model on a global scale, and how datememe datememe datememe datememe datememe datememe. A striking example of the damages rapid urbanisation can cause is the twin cities of Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Arizona.
Expansion of infrastructure can help nature. The soil was excavated from the ground during the construction of the Elizabeth Line. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was the beneficiary of half of the material donated by Crossrail. The soil was shipped from London to the coast where it was used to build a bird sanctuary.
The restoration of lagoons and mudflats was lost to agriculture, coastal erosion and sea level rise.
We have to look at the way urban dwellers get their energy. Solar panels are not allowed in some European cities that have historic centers that are open to the public. Solar panels have been thought of as an energy tech invention since their inception. The bigger picture needs to be looked at now that the technology has advanced. Marjan van Aubel argues that we need to rethink the way solar panels look if cities want to produce their own energy.
In September, van Aubel told the website that she designs solar panels that are aesthetically pleasing.
Nature is often good for people as well. There is a school in the desert that proves that. After her studio was commissioned to create the girl's school in the city of Jailsamer, she took an intersectional approach to building in the desert. She used locallysourced materials and collaborated with local craftsmen to recreate the area's ancient building practices in a modern way. It was important that modesty screens were used to create a safe environment for the students and that they stimulated learning and play. The school is self-sufficient due to a blend of modernity and tradition. The courtyard uses regional water collection techniques to store the rain during the monsoon.
Concerns are different in India's urban areas. Heavy traffic, reliance on fossil fuels, and tire and waste burning practices are some of the reasons why 43 of the world's 50 most polluted cities are here. Black carbon is particularly harmful to both human and environmental health.
Black carbon contains particles that can be captured and prevented from entering the atmosphere. The pollutant can be upcycled by incorporating it into the tile design of the studio. A single tile can prevent five kilograms of black carbon from entering the atmosphere, which is equivalent to the pollution produced by a single car on the road. If similar practices are adopted by the construction industry as a whole, the design could turn into a giant leap.