Enough IS Enough

#responsibility

Enough IS Enough

It’s time for architects to step up and assume greater responsibility for the fate of our planet and fully recognize the environmental impact of their work. The construction industry consumes about half of all resources extracted from the earth and is responsible for more than a third of global energy use and emissions, with cement production alone accounting for roughly 7% of CO2 output. Reducing this environmental toll will require a radical new approach to construction—starting with the way we architects approach design.

Do we really have to build? We always should consider “no” as a possible answer. We must think of our cities as mines ripe for exploitation, re-using, maintaining, and transforming what already exists rather than demolishing and building anew. But with the world’s population growing by 2.6 people per second, it’s also clear that we need to build for more people, with fewer resources. We already have materials that are less harmful to the environment—wood, bamboo, earth. We must make greater use of those and develop new, greener materials and methods that can be produced without fossil fuels, cause zero CO2 emissions, are fully recyclable, and create no waste through a building’s entire lifecycle.

To achieve this we need to reconsider our approach to consumption, shifting away from our traditional linear pattern of extracting resources that we use briefly before they reach their ultimate destination: the landfill or incinerator. Instead, we must forge a circular economy where every product becomes raw material for another, decoupling economic growth from resource consumption.

There’s scant incentive today for the building industry to think about the environmental toll of its work as the “cost” of a structure is typically understood as only the bill for construction. Instead, developers and builders should be required to consider the environmental costs incurred during the entire lifespan of a project. But shifting this highly efficient and competitive industry away from “business as usual” and toward a more holistic approach won’t be easy. Our political leadership must establish more sustainable standards, and do so in a way that’s socially acceptable and just—and fast enough to avert the environmental crisis we’re facing.

The pandemic we are experiencing at the moment is proof that radical change is possible, offering the hope that the ecological crisis we face can be prevented by radical measures—if we truly choose to act and our political leaders are willing to embrace the necessary sacrifices.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the coming decade will be crucial in limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, and that anything we do afterwards will be less effective. For many architects and planners—and simply users of space—it’s no longer acceptable to wait for governments to take action. They want to work, build, and live more sustainably today, and they’re proactively searching for new ways to design and produce space.

This exhibition presents dozens of projects—local and international—by architects who say “Enough is Enough.” They’ve had enough of waiting for top-down solutions, and they’re finding ways to make do with what we have: why use too much when enough will do? Their work highlights methods for treating our planet with respect and responsibility—toward the environment, toward the economy, toward society as a whole.

Exhibition structure:

As a prelude the exhibition starts with the question that should be the starting point of any building project, followed by eight strategies how to reduce the ecological footprint of the built environment.

Prelude

Do we really have to build?

The impact of human activity on climate and ecosystems threatens severe consequences for all of us. Roughly 1 million animal and plant species are approaching extinction, more than ever before in human history. And the No. 1 driver of change in nature is shifts in land and sea use. Urban areas have more than doubled since 1992, and 5 million km of new paved roads are likely to be built by 2050. Planners, architects, and engineers will wield massive influence in that development and its impact on our planet. So every project should start with the question, “Do we really have to build?” And “No” should always be considered an acceptable answer.

Mapping local resources

There is no tabula rasa. When we start a design, we work within a context that provides us with resources, both tangible and intangible. We must observe and map what’s already there: the natural environment, social and economic networks, available materials, local habits and cultures etc. Respecting the natural metabolism and including the laws of ecology into our designs will create healthier and more pleasant environments. To maintain biodiversity, our cities should allow for cohabitation with other species. Using locally sourced materials can deliver social and economic benefits, reduce emissions and transportation costs, and support local industries. To gather information about our surroundings we can team up with experts from fields such as biology, geology, geography, and sociology.

Reusing what is abandoned

The decline of industry has yielded a vast abandoned built heritage. Although these buildings were constructed for very different purposes, they are often surprisingly flexible and can be adapted to contemporary needs. Protecting these structures and inventing new ways of inhabiting them is an important part of architecture today, and demolishing them should be our last option. If we consider them to be material and cultural resources that we can reuse and transform, we can draw lessons for the design of new buildings that take adaptation into account from the beginning.

Repairing what is broken

The most sustainable building is the one that never gets demolished, since its materials never turn into waste and no additional emissions will be produced in erecting a replacement. We must invest time and resources in repairs so every structure can reach its maximum lifespan and new ones don’t need to be built. Maintenance is a craft in itself and must be considered an integral part of the design process, which can generate important features of the architecture. Besides designing for durability, anticipating the aging of a building also means creating projects that can transform or grow or shrink.

Recovering materials

When it comes time to demolish a building, we must learn to use its leftovers. We can recover its pieces, store them, protect them, repair them, and, finally, put them back on the market. By reusing materials and components we already have, we can save resources and reduce waste. To achieve this, we must understand architecture to be the design of processes rather than objects, and create buildings in a way that they can easily be disassembled so all parts can be reused or recycled. That means avoiding composite materials and specialized products that are difficult to recycle: Gluing things together, for instance, makes it difficult to take them apart later, so it’s better to use screws, magnets—even Velcro. If we think of our cities and buildings as mines that can provide us with resources, we can shift to a circular economy that produces no waste.

Remembering crafts

To reduce waste and emissions we must rethink not only what we build, but also how we build. In an increasingly digitized world we must value the social importance of labor and manual fabrication. Looking beyond the boundaries of building-as-usual can reveal alternative construction techniques, materials, and typologies. And sometimes a look back into the rich history of techniques that have either been forgotten or deliberately suppressed in the name of “progress” can offer smart solutions. By rediscovering, learning from, and adapting methods that evolved over centuries, we can make smart use of local resources––both in terms of materials and human knowhow.

Discovering new materials

We must find alternatives to building supplies that harm the environment by creating emissions, consuming fossil fuels, and producing waste. Instead, we should embrace a cradle-to-cradle design approach, with products that are biodegradable or loop back into other cycles of production: construction components can become packaging or agricultural nutrients, and industrial or agricultural byproducts can be used in building. Renewable materials such as wood, bamboo and hemp can be exploited even further. And architects should collaborate with biologists, ecologists, and chemists to cultivate new biomaterials made from fungi or bacteria. Digital tools can help us more efficiently deploy conventional construction supplies by more accurately determining exactly how much concrete, steel, or wood is needed in a given structure. And prefabrication can optimize the building process, since mixing or cutting materials on location often produces construction-site waste.

Caring for community

Over the past decade we have witnessed a growing social movement of collectivity, sharing, and participation. In the wake of the global real estate and financial crisis, a new generation sought alternative ways of life based on sharing, calling into question some fundamental economic constructs. Why buy a car if you can share one? Why pay for a hotel if you can swap flats? This shift in values can be also seen in architecture. Grassroots initiatives are developing new models of co-ownership, co-production, and co-management, and the concept of the cooperative is experiencing a renaissance. With the traditional family model waning in importance, we need new constellations of cohabitation. As digitization increases, we need spaces in the real world where people can meet, socialize, and experience a larger community. These new typologies range from co-living and co-working to urban gardening, public spaces, and temporary events that bring people together.

Sharing knowledge

Maintaining a livable planet for future generations will require dramatic changes in the way we build and live. But a shift to a more responsible lifestyle can only succeed if it gains wide acceptance. Therefore, raising awareness and education are key when it comes to establishing new ideas and habits. Scientific knowledge and experiences from best practices have to be easily available online for people in the field, and we must communicate those ideas to policy-makers and the public at large. This might be done via trans-disciplinary networks of citizens and experts that bring together knowledge and lessons from a broad range of disciplines. And we should establish laboratories for collective, experimental learning, where people can get hands-on experience with newly developed methods and materials.

Exhibition scenography:

A centerpiece of the exhibition is a garden intended to highlight the subtle dialogue between architecture and nature, which are two components of a single ecosystem. The Biennale examines this relationship and the importance of architects working within the context of the natural conditions of their projects. The garden includes what we call the “kitchen,” an experimental place for production, where we exhibit new, greener building materials and where participants may gather for workshops, lectures, and debates. After the exhibition, the garden will be moved to a public place in Timișoara.

Credits

Curators Ilka Ruby, Anca Cioarec, Brîndușa Tudor

Exhibition design stardust architects*

Garden concept Raluca Rusu and Alexandru Ciobotă

Graphic design Ștefan Lucuț

Video Pataki Farkas

Photography Bianca Azap and Dan Purice

Communication Oltea Zambori and Ada Vlad

Web development Fruit Creative

Technical consultancy, production and mounting coordination for the exhibition displays Atelier Vast

Landscape Entrepreneur Millegarden

Print  AZERO

Interactive map design Vlad Albu

Copy editing and Translation Giles Eldridge and Ramona Cociorvă

Contributors / Authors of the projects selected in the exhibition Leo van Broeck, Timișoara verde-albastră, Atelier Ad Hoc, GIC Cișmigiu, Andreea Pătroi, 51N4E, Lacaton & Vassal, Frederic Druot, Christophe Hutin, Sebastian Felix Ernst and Jonas Tratz / FAKT, Rainer Hehl and Something Fantastic / MAS Urban Design ETH Zurich, Creative Community residing in the Cotton Factory, Wolfhouse Productions, Calup, Nod Makerspace, F O R, Planeta Petrila, Asociația pentru patrimoniu activ – PACT, Loredana Gaiță & Miodrag Stoianov, Monumentum Association, Studio Govora and ARCHÉ Association, Locus Association, Harquitectes, Abruptarhitectura, Prodid, I’M UAU, baubüro insitu, Felix Heisel and Bisrat Kifle, Flores & Prats Arquitectes, Dirk Hebel, Felix Heisel / KIT Karlsruhe, Larix Studio, Pro Patrimonio Foundation, Studio Anna Heringer, Case design, Assemble, KraftMade, TERRApia, Grupul Rural, Idalene Rapp and Natascha Unger / weißensee kunsthochschule berlin, Paula van Brummelen / weißensee kunsthochschule berlin, Arhipera, La Col, Flussbad Berlin e.V., Xu Tiantian / DnA Design and Architecture, Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée, Republic of Architects, studioBASAR, Urboteca, Citizen and Resilience Bucharest – Master in Urban Design studio at the University of Sheffield, 2019-2020, Citizens and the City in Ecological Transition, School of Bunești, ARCHAEUS Foundation, We forge the iron at the manor!, raumlabor and Floating University e.V., Ralph Pasel / TU Berlin, Lacol Arquitectura Cooperativa

Organizers Ordinul Arhitecților din România – Filiala Teritorială Timiș, Primăria Municipiului Timișoara – Casa de Cultură a Municipiului Timișoara

Extended organizing team – BETA team Alexandra Maria Rigler, Alexandru Todirică, Alexandra Trofin, Dariana Pau, David Alexandru Dumitrescu, Dragoș Nistor, Emanuela Cristescu, Nicoleta Postolache, Romina Popescu

Volunteers Băilă Cristina, Iagăr Bianca, Daoudi Fatima, Youssef Oussayeh, Goie Anamaria, Abrudan Denisa, Stan Sabrina, Rusen Alexandra, Pîtea Adelin. Husarciuc Ionuț, Mureșan Andreea, Ilașcu Paul, Csukas Balinț, Cîțu Daniela, Sperlea Anca, Micoroi Aurelia, Barbu Bogdan, Andra Dascălu, Dem Anastasia, Țîrlea Denisa, Nedelcu Loredana, Timuț Sergiu, Kis Petra, Cotoara Emanuel Andrei, Borcea Sanela, Adriana Nițu, Păcurar Andreea, Giurșa Cristina, Nistor Bianca, Secăreanu Andreea, Ștețco Tijana, Ilieș Antonia, Elisa Cotan, Naghiu Alexandru

Related events organized in collaboration with Aethernativ, Abruptarhitectura, Art Encounters, Atelier d’Architecture Autogeree, Asociația Maria – Țibănești, AMAIS and Studio Mud, De-a Arhitectura, Heritage of Timișoara, Leo van Broeck, Studiobasar, Terrapia, UrbanEye

Co-financers Ordinul Arhitecților din România – Timbrul de Arhitectură, Administraţia Fondului Cultural Naţional, Primăria Municipiului Timișoara –  Casa de Cultură a Municipiului Timișoara

With the support of Muzeul de Transport Public „Corneliu Miklosi“, RETIM Ecologic Service SA, Lipoplast, Romanian Design Week

Media partners Agerpres, Epiteszforum, Igloo, IQads, Modernism, Radio Guerilla, Smark, Zeppelin

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