Understanding Sustainable Architecture

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Understanding Sustainable Architecture is a review of the assumptions, beliefs, goals and bodies of knowledge that underlie the endeavour to design (more) sustainable buildings and other built developments.
Much of the available advice and rhetoric about sustainable architecture begins from positions where important ethical, cultural and conceptual issues are simply assumed. If sustainable architecture is to be a truly meaningful pursuit then it must be grounded in a coherent theoretical framework. This book sets out to provide that framework. Through a series of self-reflective questions for designers, the authors argue the ultimate importance of reasoned argument in ecological, social and built contexts, including clarity in the problem framing and linking this framing to demonstrably effective actions. Sustainable architecture, then, is seen as a revised conceptualisation of architecture in response to a myriad of contemporary concerns about the effects of human activity.
The aim of this book is to be transformative by promoting understanding and discussion of commonly ignored assumptions behind the search for a more environmentally sustainable approach to development. It is argued that design decisions must be based on both an ethical position and a coherent understanding of the objectives and systems involved. The actions of individual designers and appropriate broader policy settings both follow from this understanding.

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it must be grounded in a coherent theoretical framework. This book sets out to provide that framework.
The aim of this book is to be transformative by promoting understanding and discussion of
commonly ignored assumptions behind the search for a more environmentally sustainable approach to development. It is argued that design decisions must be based on both an ethical position and a coherent understanding of the objectives and systems involved. The actions of individual designers and appropriate broader policy settings both follow from this understanding. 

Contents

ESD ?
3
The manageable but fragile earth
9
Images
19
Architectural expression
26
Overlapping images
33
Ethics
42
Rights and duties
48
Discourse ethics
59
Buildings as systems
84
The occupants
91
Life cycle sustainability assessment
97
Recognizing assumptions
104
The science of global warming
111
Global warming and building design
119
The appropriate objectives
125
Credibility transferability dependability and confirmability
131

Objectives
64
Design advice
70
Local contexts
77
A partial checklist for sustainable architecture
138
Bibliography
145
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About the author (2003)

Terry Williamson was educated in engineering and architecture in Australia and is Associate Professor and Dean of the School of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design at Adelaide University, Australia. Anthony Radford was educated in architecture and planning in the United Kingdom and is Professor of Architecture in the same school. Helen Bennetts was educated in architecture in Australia and, after researching how architects actually use information in seeking to produce environmentally responsible buildings, now concentrates on the family business of wine- and cheese-making. All three have taught, researched and published in areas of energy, environment and sustainability. This book draws particularly on their development and teaching of a new course called Issues in Urban and Landscape Sustainability.

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