Sustainability in Design 

Sustainability as a concept has become a major trend in the recent years, as people are becoming more and more environmentally-aware. However, there’s more to it than that, sustainability could become a lifestyle, if applied in the right form and way. Which is what several architects, and designers are trying to integrate into our lives. 

Sustainability as a concept has become a major trend in the recent years, as people are becoming more and more environmentally-aware. However, there’s more to it than that, sustainability could become a lifestyle, if applied in the right form and way. Which is what several architects, and designers are trying to integrate into our lives. 

So let’s take a stroll through the true meaning of sustainability in design, and explore some of it’s crevices and corners.

Looking closely at the outcomes of being a sustainable designer, we can see that it could be divided into 3 main sectors, environmental, economic, and social. Businesses and governments are promoting and making use of the sustainability fiasco occurring, and with the innovative technology that we claim now, the green movement is seeing it’s best days so far and is rapidly growing. 

Sustainable designs have become such a favorable option, and consequently there had been a strong demand for sustainable materials in the past 10 years or so, as they sustain and protect the environment. This is because they can directly reduce release of emissions into our atmosphere, and have waste control. Moreover, they have many economic benefits, with their cost effectiveness as they reduce energy consumption, and they also contain social benefits, such as providing us, as humans, comfort and sustaining our health.

An attempt to raise more awareness and motivate sustainability could be caught in The Solar Decathlon, which is an international competition designed by the U.S. Department of Energy. This competition makes use of young minds from universities from all around the world, in order to create a grid-connected, entirely solar powered house. This year the Solar Decathlon Middle East will feature 10 houses that will prompt the teams partaking this challenge to explore the fields of sustainability more, taking into consideration the distinctive weathers experienced in the Middle East. The reason behind this methodology is to prompt the contestants to explore one of the vital principles behind sustainable design, which is optimizing the potential and different prospects of the site they are working on. 

However, reaching a certain level of sustainability isn’t an easy task usually, designers face a lot of challenges on the way; but on the other hand, it also allowed designers to become more creative, and expand the materials and resources they work with, as it opened up a window of opportunities and several benefits. 

One of these portals leading towards sustainable creativity is the invention of 3D Printing, which allows designers to create any 3D object of any form or shape digitally, and then manufacture a physical, tangible copy of it. We can see the application of that in a recent talk-of-the-town news that the world’s first 3D printed concrete houses is a work in progress, and will be ready for inhabiting by 2019. Futuristic houses are an example of in sustainable design in one of its truest forms, start-up from west to east are building their prototypes at several latitudes and longitudes.

The Eindhoven University of Technology is a leading research hub and have stated that if in a building unit everything is 3D printed, much less concrete is used and hence much less cement, this reduces the CO2 emissions resulting from cement production. 

Their project stands as a huge step into the future, a future where a house or building of any obscure or unorthodox shape can be turned into a reality, as 3D printing contains the ability of constructing almost any form we create digitally. 

Sustainability goes along with innovation and beyond dueling issues is radically changing transportations and infrastructures again impacting on landscapes and urban architecture. Even here we have independent Hyperloop examples founding the pipes for superfast human and goods relocation.

Not necessary you need innovative technologies to achieve a low impact and the high efficiency necessary to determine the sustainable degree of a building. Mario Cucinella is the Italian pioneer that makes meaningful architecture coping with outstanding performances, the wise use of local resources and localized solutions.

As our brief stroll concludes, several aspects of sustainability have been discussed; however, attempting to cover all the benefits and opportunities in an article would be impossible. Compasses will investigate in its next issue the multifaceted world of sustainability in a range of fields and will pertner with UAE Modern, a platform for discussion on architecture and society ranging from tourism to product design which full programme will be announced during the next Index in September 2018. Be there to take part into an interactive experience.

Sustainability clearly unlocked a whole new world of ideas, be it in the architecture or interior design of a building, in the engineering of new methods of transport, you could even grasp the concept of sustainability for new business opportunities. It’s literally the beginning of a new age where we can continue to evolve without the guilt or fear of planet and self-destruction, possibly the veganism of innovation. 

Credits: Mario Cucinella Architects.

One Airport Square is the first building in Ghana to have been awarded 4-Stars (Design Stage) by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).

Yara Dakkak

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