The global building sector accounts for at least 40% of anthropogenic carbon emissions. If we continue to build our cities and infrastructure using prevailing strategies, practices, and technologies of construction to meet the demands of the planets growing and urbanizing human population, the environmental and social impacts will be devastating. Given the rapidly closing window for climate action, the option to merely mitigate harm – by decarbonizing the building sector – will not be enough. Could a radical shift to using biobased materials help to turn buildings and cities from climate culprits into a human-made carbon sink?
In the context of an increasingly polarized debate in which several studies have challenged a “wood only” approach to meeting the forecasted demand for global building—citing risks of deforestation, competition over land use, and inefficiencies in current processing and manufacturing practices by the wood products industry—the ARCH+ salon assembles leading thinker and practitioners to address key questions relating to a necessarily systemic transformation: How can bio-based construction transform cities while creating the economic basis for a large-scale reinvestment to stabilize and replenish our biosphere? What are the potentials of a transition toward a biobased building sector? What are the social and ecological risks and how could they be addresses? How can we address the required transition systemically?
On September 4th, with the recently published book, Carbon: A Field Manual for Building Designers (Kuittinen, Organschi, Ruff; Wiley and Sons) serving as a point of systemic reference, ARCH+ will convene a roundtable conversation with inputs by Dani Ibañez (IAAC Barcelona), Pekka Heikkinen and Matti Kuittinen (Aalto University Helsinki), Moritz Karl (Design Academy Eindhoven) and Andreja Kutnar (InnoRenew Slovenia), and Phil Misselwitz, Alan Organschi and Rosa Hanhausen (Bauhaus Earth).