We heard the warnings of the Club of Rome as teenagers in the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, saving energy was the initial focus of the multitude of ecological solutions proposed for architecture. In the 1990s, we were already insulating our first houses more heavily than was prescribed in the text books. But what was considered to be sufficient, good and exemplary has had to be revised from decade to decade.
So what should be done now? What shouldn’t? How to begin?
In 2019, we had students at ETH Zurich use their design studio projects to examine what it means to conceive a larger residential building in an urban environment – if they are to consume little energy and to emit hardly any CO2 over their entire life cycle. In the best case scenarios they would even store carbon and produce energy. The following semester, we then examined building conversions and extensions in their potential to save grey energy and to protect urban ensembles with the added aim of a sustainable building culture.
Annette Gigon and Mike Guyer, September 2020
> > Diskussion: Nachhaltigkeit am Bau – Greenwashing oder Fortschritt? (German)
Matthias Sauerbruch, curator and director of the Building Art Section, in conversation with Thomas Auer, Annette Gigon, Christian Kühn, Christine Lemaitre, Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber and Werner Sobek on the diverse topic of «Sustainability in construction – greenwashing or progress?»