Sustainability and the Expanding Role of the Architect

Sunday 1st June 2014

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Vitruvius in his “Ten Books of Architecture” stipulates that the “architect should be equipped with knowledge of many branches of study and varied kinds of learning”. Throughout millennia, architecture has defined itself based on its ability to distill its ontological questions from the contemporary epistemological paradigms. Thus amalgamating its fundamental tenets inherently into the fabric of culture. With the advent of the sustainability as an emerging paradigm, challenging the existing global economic and social frameworks, it became inevitable for architecture to respond. However, before we delineate the expanding role of architects we have to first acknowledge a comprehensive definition of sustainability. This comprehensive formulation necessitates the combination of four distinct but correlative operational domains; ecology, economy, society, and technology. In this new articulation, sustainable design as an inclusive paradigm may manifest itself through the creation of viable, equitable, and livable, communities using appropriate technologies. Models of practice of architecture outside the client-consultant service exemplar have existed for a long time. However, they remained peripheral until the age of sustainability. The lecture will introduce the extended definition of sustainability as a framework under which the emerging new roles architects may be observed and identified

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