Sustainability - Thinking Beyond

#LeavingThePlanetBetter #HolisticCommunities

As design custodians, looking after the planet is central to our mission. We’re not alone in having long been aware of the need to consider the environment, and the growing urgency to mitigate the effects of climate change. We’re also conscious of the speed of change around sustainable thinking and the need to plan beyond the current scenario when considering how our response will adapt and develop in the future.

As community-makers, whether the project is a new neighbourhood or the home of a commercial organisation, it’s essential that sustainability is considered holistically, in broader terms than just improving the building’s energy performance. It’s about really understanding the needs of the people who are going to use a place – as well as those who invest in it – to make sure that very broad factors relating to its social, cultural and economic future are addressed, as well as the specific environmental impact of what we build. We can’t always resolve all of these factors in a design, but we can influence many – and we can model this broad-minded, future-focused view to our collaborators.

All of our developments are designed with emerging policy and zero-carbon ambitions in mind, as we strive to design more and more sustainable places. We conduct research and implement guidance from sources through our engagement with organisations including LETI, the UK Green Building Council, Building with Nature, Design for Homes and the NLA, among others.

From the outset, we work closely with our clients and project teams, including operations personnel, to agree a sustainability brief so that it becomes an integral part of the design and operation of a development. We build in flexibility to make allowances for future sustainability requirements, and we think beyond the site boundary to identify opportunities to connect or reconnect areas through exemplary placemaking and active travel. We see first-hand that incorporating sustainable principles from the beginning reduces factors including whole-life costs, environmental impact and fuel poverty, and that this approach helps to futureproof developments.

We have a strong legacy of refurbishment projects, bringing new life into existing buildings by exploring adaptive re-use initiatives, and have been recognised for our work in this area on projects such as The Smithson and Gagosian Gallery, Mayfair, among others. We also work regularly on conservation projects across all sectors, including 55 Broadway for Transport for London, in which refurbishment and re-use are essential.

Despite the enormity and complexity of the challenges of climate change, we have a shared point of view to guide us as we tackle the very different projects and people we engage with. We need to ‘think beyond’: beyond energy, beyond carbon, beyond the brief and context, and beyond the here and now, to a future that our work will inevitably impact.