Architecture and Resilience on the Human Scale Conference
In September 2015 the Sheffield School of Architecture staged an international conference to scope the many ways that architectural academics and practicing architects are engaging with resilience.
Changes already in motion - such as climate warming and other conditions arising from chronic urban stresses – pose ever increasing challenges to our cities. Resilience is required to create a buffer zone of space and time within which we can adapt our behaviour to mitigate against further acceleration of these conditions and to transition to a lower carbon, more just way of life.
Several themes emerged from the conference that could shape future architectural practice:
- Convergence of mitigation and adaptation strands in building and infrastructure design such as rebalancing the drive for ever increasing insulation to save heating energy with greater emphasis on preventing overheating to reduce energy demand for cooling
- Co-production as a process that can achieve sustainable regeneration by involving all stakeholders including communities in developing and delivering regeneration
- Emergence of new knowledge enabled by data and new technologies such as climate change modelling and energy use apps that inform on performance gaps between design and in use experience
- The disavowal of climate change that has generated a culture of 'uncare' that prevents us from acting on the knowledge that is now available to all
Copenhagen chief city architect Tina Saaby described how challenges can be tackled top down to stimulate a radical rethink of urban development. Copenhagen is developing a resilient strategic framework for the future to adapt its physical infrastructure to extreme weather conditions over the next 40 years
Berlin-based American architect Kristien Ring, director of AA PROJECTS Berlin, illustrated a bottom-up approach to resiliency which relies on alternative financing models to conventional development. She presented a host of architect-initiated projects such as co-housing, builder collectives and self-build whose innovative architecture is shaping a more diverse Berlin.
Heriot-Watt professor Sue Roaf lamented the continuing trend of high-rise, glazed air-conditioning dependent developments, observing that architects 'have lost the basic climate design skills' they once had.
Psychoanalyst Sally Weintrobe, editor of Engaging with Climate Change: Psychoanalytic and Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2012), called for a restructuring of architectural imagination as a ‘caring imagination.’ Weintrobe argues that a ‘culture of uncare’ prevents us from breaking away from our carbon-intensive business-as-usual lifestyles to seek new more resilient solutions.
Here you can find videos of the following Key Note lectures:
Dialogues at Candlelight 'Building Local Resilience can it be planned for ' by Andrew Simms
Katherine Gibson Video Lecture
During the conference we asked our staff to share their thoughts on building local resilience at the human scale. You can view these videos on our YouTube Playlist.
We were please to host an exciting array of interdisciplinary keynote speakers. Here keynote, Professor Sue Roaf, reflects on the conference.