Sustainability: A Holistic Approach – June 2020

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With some relief and a few virtual fist pumps, the BAA sustainability group (BAA Green) and the speakers all waved goodbye through our cameras, the second BAA talk on sustainability and the first Webinar was completed with success.

This talk follows in the footsteps of the first sustainability talk that took place in November 2019 with Steven Rankin Associate Director and Passivhaus Designer from ArchiType. We had also scheduled an evening of discussion with the Centre of Alternative Technology (CAT) and the UK Green Building Council but unfortunately this was postponed due to the Covid 19 Pandemic.

The three presenters are from two practices who have collaborated on a number of projects in which they discuss a potential way of building in the future to tackle climate issues. 

The talk was introduced by Matthew Redding from Gensler who has a keen interest in “green” architecture and a key member of the BAA Green family. 

Ian Goodfellow from Penoyre and Prasad Architects opened the talk and set out in detail his design ethos, encouraging a holistic and systems based approach. He emphasised that we should design smartly with the opportunities that are presented within our own biosphere, he completed his discussion with reference to Biologist E.O. Wilson who is well known for his study of ants and how collectively they build self sustaining cities.


Ian Goodfellow

Ian identified that it is nearly 1 year since the Architects Declare and Engineers Declare was launched, which leaves 9 years to address the issues that the construction industry faces in reducing the fast onset of climate change.


Rob Neild – BAA Green Team

Rob Nield’s talk focused on the approach to reducing embodied carbon through material and form and Paul Downie used a termite mound and historic examples to demonstrate how in-use carbon emissions can be reduced.


We are shown a building which has been designed to be easily, economically and sustainably disassembled at the end of its life (The Millennium Centre, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, 1995), 

A low budget building which was built fast and is low in embodied carbon (New Studios, Wimbledon College of Art, London, 2015),  

How an existing building can be adapted for re-use, instead of demolition (Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, 2017).

The Webinar was quickly drawn to a close with some really good questions which were posed to the speakers by Georgina Holden from BPN Architects. Sadly, we didn’t have time to address all the questions so the speakers have been given copies and the responses will be posted on the BAA blog and social media.

Lastly, thank you to all (100+) participants for attending our first Webinar. We really hope you enjoyed the presentations and join us for future BAA events. Please keep an eye on our social media as we plan to launch upcoming events soon.


The Birmingham Architectural Association is kindly supported by Allermuir, Allgood, Altro, Armitage Shanks, Delta Light, Ibstock, Marley, Milliken,  Reynaers, SKG Kitchen Gallery and Taylor Maxwell.