Sustainable design


Sustainable design creates solutions that solve the economic, social, and environmental challenges of the project simultaneously, and these solutions are powered by sustainable energies. The combined beauty and function of the design make it something that endures and is cherished; endurance and beauty are central to sustainable thinking. The underlying quest is that if the get-to; places are sustainability it is way past a discussion on energy efficiency.

How project are designed and, more importantly, how the design programmed is defined is central to sustainable design and planning. If sustainable design is the foundation of the program requirement, then energy, form, construction processes, materials, native place, and long life are integral to the design solutions. Since design is a process, changing the process must include a change in the designer education. Designers; expanded ability to solve problems must be grounded in ecological principles, earth sciences, and physics- all which are sustainable models.

Defining and measuring sustainability

It has often been remarked that Prime Minister Gro Harlem Bruntland and her United Nations Commission performed a remarkable feat in offering a definition of sustainable development- development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. The harshest critics will argue that sustainable development is an idea and label so over-used , manipulated and debased as to be worthless without some definition and precision form which has developed a large industry on sustainability indicators designed to provide the measurable criteria needed to allow individual and groups with widely differing ethics and values to find common ground. If judgments are to be made on whether we have achieved sustainable development, or whether this or that policy or project is moving us in the right direction, then we need to make measurements to give us the answers. Indicators have of course been used for years in many fields.

To sustain means to hold up, to bear , to support, to keep going, to support the life of and to prolong; and sustainability, as a noun, means that which is capable of being sustained; .Time is therefore crucially important because sustainability focuses on long, inter-generational timescales, in contrast to the alleged short-termism and intra-generational emphasis of contemporary societies. Sustainability development requires us to look to the long term while our present systems and behavior are designed for the short term. However, strictly nothing is sustainable forever, socially, politically, ecologically, geologically or cosmologically, and so sustainability cannot technically, be infinite; most commentators would probably settle for; to all intents and purposes forever; that is, far beyond a future which is conceivable by the present.

While in the social sciences and in the economy generally we measure jobs created, house built, road widened or Gross National Product, inflation and interest rates and so on. All of these indicators are used routinely in policy evaluation and formulations, so it;s no surprise that sustainable developments has attracted much work on the use of indicators as a means of operating the issue. But even here analysts argue that this is trying to measure the immeasurable. So the landscape of sustainability is just as vast, difficult, slippery and mercurial as landscape itself. An important starting point is to realize that the term sustainable development has ideological economic and social content. We would, however, commend the view that sustainable development is a social and political construct, like democracy , liberty, and social justice and that society- and the landscape professionals- need to move forward beyond a sterile search for a single precise definition, or single measuring rod, into the interpretation and application of sustainable development in practice.

Depth of Sustainability

Sustainability will be used in environmental ethics, thus the main focus of environment ethics will be upon sustainable development will consider some context in which the word sustainable is used. If development is regarded as the continued expansion of economic growth, sustainable development begins to seem like an oxymoron. However there are other ways to think about development some of which will be explored in the course of the role of the profession.

If it is the system that has value rather than the individual that comprise it the value of those individuals become a question of their contribution to the overall integrity or stability of the broader entity .Within the literature of landscape architectural theory there is one clear expression of ecocentric thought.

The word sustain; has two principle meanings. The first is to support or hold up (from the Latin, sustinere). Breadwinners sustain their families; generals sustain the morale of their troops. The second is to prolong. To sustain a discussion is to keep it going. A sustained note in music is one which is held for longer than usual. These sense coverage. Something is sustainable is it is possible to support it, to keep it going or in existence, over a significant period of time.

Multidimensional issues

Typically, sustainability is illustrated as three intersecting circles connecting community, economy, and the environment. But the over whelming majority of problems, issues, and corresponding solutions are, like ecology, three-dimensional. As three- dimensional problem solvers, architects are well suited to lead the change toward sustainability. That architects are three-dimensional problem solvers is central to the resolution of nonlinear, spatial problems. Most professions do not work this way, and most people do not think spatially. The three spheres of sustainability, much like the three elements in Vitruvius principles- firmness, commodity, and delight- must be solved simultaneously, and spatial thinkers are best at doing that. Since these spatial relationships are essential and connected parts of sustainable design, spatial thinkers are best equipped for the challenge, responsibility, and stewardship of multidimensional solutions.

Design is a powerful process when it is informed by the knowledge gleaned from truly sustainable systems. Design has the potential of changing how buildings, communities, and societies function. Design has the power of both satisfying a need and providing value. The unsustainable approaches to designing and building energy- consumptive structures must evolve to place-based energy and self-sufficient designs, and they need to evolve rapidly. Design can, within the next generation, illustrate that architects and planners are not only agents of the change towards sustainability but quite possibility the most central and effective agents for making this change happen.

The design professions adopt sustainable design- design a chair, design a good chair, design a great chair, or design a sustainable chair- the thinking changes as well. Although the object is the same, the objective and the process are considerably different. The same is true of designing a sustainable building or community. How the architect defines the problem and understands his or her responsibility to solve it dramatically impacts the design process and, consequently, the solution.

But design, like sustainability is a dynamic and living process. Sustainability is not a point when reaches, all is fine. Sustainability is better thought of as a continuum, as a calculus: meaning design and planning approaching sustainability. A design is sustainable, or it is not. If it is not sustainable, changes can be made to make it sustainable. If it is sustainable, by necessity it will be changing and evolving. Sustainability is not static- it is iteratively changing, based on evolving knowledge that connects science and design.

Hidden costs

At a time when the known nonrenewable reserve of fossil fuel are getting costly to tap, producing less net energy and producing harmful global warming, it is prudent to start designing structures and communities that function well without them. There is three scalar elements should be considered in the initial design process. First is connectivity: design to reinforce the relationship between the project, the site, the community, and the ecology. Make minimal changes to the natural system functioning. Reinforce and steward those natural characteristics specific to the place. Second is Indigenous: design with and for what has been resident and sustainable on the site for centuries. Third is long life, loose fit: Design for the future generations while reflecting past generation.

The ecological model is powered by energy and resources resident to the site and bioregion. Ecology is placed-based, connecting form and biological function as a system. When this kind of systems thinking is applied to architectural design, it suggests that the design acts as the collector and concentrator of those resident energies and resources. The connection, collection, and concentration of these energies can provided comfort, value, and delight. Sustainable design accomplishes the most with the least energy consumption and in a connected and comprehensive manner.

A sustainable site analysis begins with study of the sun and its impact on the region, the community, and the site. This impact includes its climate and ecological niche and how the sun angle, intensity, and the duration establish the bioclimate and microclimate. The sustainable site analysis also includes the study and understanding of the next system larger. The reasoning for this is as follows: the region has a bioclimate, a series of biological functions specific to its climate.

Ski Lodge Schneggarei, Lech am Arlberg

This building shares a similar albeit shortened time frame historical uniqueness as my chosen site. This particularly outstanding plot of land that the decadently anointed ski lodge currently sits on was once upon a time the very same land that was used for local dairy and live stock farming for hundreds of years. However, once this land was discovered to be ideal for skiing in the early twentieth century, the entire site's economic prosperity shot skywards. Today, this particular building has earned the bragging rights as one of the worlds premier ski destinations despite being the very same location where the farmers were barely able to elk out a sparse existence. Similarly, my chosen site: South Bridge Road, used to be a stretch of goldsmith shops but it has been converted to eateries, hotels, clubs, and offices catering to an ever growing community of nouveau riche that appreciates the extrinsic beauty of the old shop houses

Case study 2: Economy

Community Center Ludesch

The keynotes of this particularly sustainable project were that the community formed the workgroup which set clearly defined functions which the Community Center had to fulfill, building also had to achieve low utility costs, an optimized ratio was set and lastly, it was stressed that the heating for the site had to be from biomass. Notably, the community decided to stop using PVC in the construction of public projects. My site is labeled a conservation site mainly due to its unique historical value but taking the concept of conservation one step further, a great deal of effort / influence will be put in place to seek out the best possible methods to use energy sparingly and sensibly. This is an integral part of my design as my project would be open twenty- four hours a day. For example, in the interest of conserving electricity, all lights in the building will use only energy saving bulbs and every room will also apply the usage of motion sensors so as to minimize possible wastage.

Case study 3: Community

Gasthof Krone, Hittisau

This project would be an example of how the faade of a building can be updated to keep up with modern times and yet still maintain the important qualities that made the project stand out. Similarly, my chosen site has been ground zero for many businesses and the patrons have changed over time. The one constant over the past hundred years is the faade albeit with a few minor upgrades such as repainting. The interior however is a completely different story. The concept of community is to maintain the uniformity of the exterior while allowing the businesses to design and create their own interiors to suit their needs.

The sustainable design process starts with the thinking process and the resulting solution captures and connects the renewable resources. This process links the fact of the site in a manner that preserves and protects both site and building, creating uniqueness. The three elements of a building skin are floor, wall, and ceiling. The corresponding structural elements are the foundation, column (wall), and roof. Each has a finish, a material composition, and a structure; each impacts the flow of energy form one point to another within the structure. The energy required making and transporting the material from its raw state to the manufacturing and processing plant and then on to the construction site is considerable. Therefore, any time a local material source can be used or reused from a local stockpile, the construction practices are less wasteful and the design better approaches sustainability.


Existing buildings, communities, towns, and regions are a considerable challenge to sustainability. Virtually all of the built structures in the world need considerable design renovation work to make them approach sustainability or even be marginally energy efficient. In each existing structure, there is an opportunity to introduce sustainable design principles, and in so doing, accomplish the following. First, introduce natural ventilation and day lighting. Second, eliminate consumption of nonrenewable. Third, provide a healthier, more participatory environment for users. Finally, redesign so existing structure can function unplugged.

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