In recent decades, architecture has become more commercial than ever before. A new construction starts almost every single day, ridding our cities of what little greenery we have left. The consequences of building without control were not thought about during the industrial revolution, but it is now the responsibility of the new generation of architects and urban planners to put the spotlight on green architecture. Not only is green architecture efficient and sustainable, but it can help countries combat issues such as the increase of a nation’s carbon footprint, unemployment and homelessness. Here, I have written a summary of these topics in order to clarify the situation for us all.
Majority of the time, humans are quite selfish when it comes to how land is used. We tend to think that all but some of the space – which is spared for decorative structures – should be of use to the humans. Unfortunately, it usually escapes the developer’s notice that a single tree can directly reduce the carbon footprint of an area. Carbon footprint can be defined as the total emissions of greenhouse gases by a single person. Therefore, even a small tree in the balcony of each house can make a huge difference.
We can take the new ‘Forest City’ that is to be built in China, for example. This project, that is aimed to be completed by 2020, will be a means for China to fight the horrible air pollution that it suffers from through the vast greenery that the project encapsulates. The City also aims to be successfully sustainable through the many solar panels that will be installed. Not only will this City help in combating global warming, but it will also set an example for other countries to follow.
Buildings made through the use of green architecture need not always be made of new materials. In lesser developed countries, homes and schools are made from sandbags and other local materials. South Africa is especially good at this, leading the way in building safe and affordable housing for those who do not have enough money to stay in brick or concrete houses. Aside from modern buildings, the Zulu population of South Africa build huts called the iQukwane. These huts are quite cost efficient as they are made almost entirely from sticks and a single tree trunk. Many people today might not fancy staying in such a hut as there is usually no electricity. However, many of the huts’ inhabitants do not need electricity as the huts stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter without any external source, and their daily needs are met by traditional resources. Other countries can use this same building process – or a similar one – in order to help those in need while keeping their buildings green.
These types of buildings not only help the environment but they can also assist in decreasing unemployment and homelessness. There are many countries that are currently struggling with the aforementioned issues and implementing the methods that the South Africans are using will be a great help. These buildings are not tall or complex, so with little training, many people can be provided with jobs.
Finally, if concrete must be used, the world can make use of the new innovation that is self-repairing concrete. Since the restoration of buildings, bridges, dams and the like can be very expensive, this concrete was developed to make construction much more sustainable. The concrete requires nothing extra to heal as it is already contains bacteria inside. When there is a crack, the bacteria multiply and fix the problem.
Although the main thing that comes to mind when one says ‘green architecture’ is greenery itself, we see that this concept is extremely useful in many other areas too. We should no longer disregard this form of architecture that can fight global warming, homelessness and unemployment all at once. It is our duty, as citizens of the world, to promote this concept and take it to newer heights in order to secure a cleaner and happier future.
Ferro, S. (2015, May 18). Living Bio-Concrete can heal itself http://mentalfloss.com/article/64099/living-bio-concrete-can-heal-itself
Nace, T. (2017, June 30). China’s New ‘Forest City’ Will Make You Rethink Urban Cities https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2017/06/30/chinas-new-forest-city-will-make-you-rethink-urban-cities/#56b719bcdabd
Udoma, O. (2014, April 24). 10 examples of ‘Green’ Architecture in Africa http://futurecapetown.com/2014/04/the-move-to-green-architecture/#W.fi_aoGEaaO
Zulu Kraal – Building www.zulu-culture.co.za/zulu_kraal_building.php#.Wfi-wYGEaaN