Sustainability Life in an Architectural Practice

David Jarratt, architectural director at Ryder Architecture, discusses the ambition behind the practice’s sustainability approach

With a career quickly approaching 20 years, it has allowed me to travel and work on projects all over the world, from Asia to South America.  Learning, teaching, presenting, collaborating on many projects with some very diverse people, each trying to make a difference.  However with so much importance, opportunity and urgency to make a change, I feel that I have only scratched the surface!

The transition from sustainability in engineering led firms to architecture will assist me in reaching those people who don’t necessarily appreciate their impact on the environment and the legacy of their actions and design decisions now.  It can be much easier to work with a client who is motivated to develop the best sustainable building, whatever their reasons might be.  But how do we inspire a change of mindset with those clients who don’t yet engage in sustainable design and are happy to continue with business as usual?  And how can we build momentum for change quickly?

Architects are often the first port of call for clients looking to bed some initial ideas and confirm their own feasibilities and business cases.  This early stage represents the best opportunity to introduce strategies which produce sustainable outcomes.  Through establishing truly sustainable values and integrating design solutions, rather than waiting until the engineering teams often become involved, usually when massing, orientation and form are already agreed, this will form a holistic and collaborative effort to ensure the ultimate positive impact.

Amongst other things, I’m looking to help shape Ryder’s approach to net zero carbon, influence design guides for enhanced wellbeing and productivity, and help influence current and future projects by asking the challenging questions of clients and designers, which some consultants may fear to.  One of those, as architects responsible for leading multi discipline teams and guiding clients, might be, how do we empower stakeholders in understanding the impact of their decisions and what they will have on generations to come in this carbon constrained economy?  Here’s to making a difference!

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