How architects can move toward a more just, harmonious, and non-exploitative designed environment.
Architecture—and architects—have immense influence in defining the way we live, work, and interact as communities. Architecture, in fact, could be described as the very process through which our collective priorities take shape in the environment. Today, buildings generate nearly forty percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. As awareness of the true cost of inaction grows, every human activity will be rethought—and the material economy of the building industry is one of the places where new thinking is most urgently needed. Architects have the opportunity to reclaim their relevance by becoming the advocates and masterminds of a new way of building.
What kind of architecture will be born once its primary purpose is serving communities and not capital accumulation? How can we compel the market to factor in the true long-term costs of construction and material production? How can we reduce the sense of abstraction that separates “consumers” of architecture from the environmental damage wrought at the sites of material extraction? How can communities become fully involved in every stage of the production of architecture, not just its final consumption? This book attempts to frame the problem and begins the process of delineating alternative paths forward. The first step architects can take toward a more just, harmonious, and non-exploitative designed environment is to redesign themselves, and what the word “architect” stands for.