Build Better Now at the Built Environment Virtual Pavilion shows how architecture can tackle and mitigate climate change
Heart of School at Green School Bali
Words by Francesca Perry
As part of COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference currently being held in Glasgow, a virtual pavilion has been created championing sustainable architecture projects around the world. Following an international open call, 17 projects and a centrepiece installation were selected to feature in Build Better Now, a virtual reality online exhibition showing how the built environment can reduce its carbon emissions and help tackle the climate emergency.
Globally, buildings consume over a third of energy produced, and are responsible for 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions. The built environment therefore has a central role to play in supporting the world’s transition to net-zero carbon. In recognition of this, COP26 will feature a dedicated Built Environment Day on 11 November.
Sara Cultural Centre by White Arkitekter. Photograph: Patrick Degerman
The 17 projects showcased in Build Better Now span the globe, from Auckland to São Paulo to Glasgow, and were chosen as scalable and replicable models. They include the Sara Cultural Centre in Skellefteå, Sweden – a carbon-negative timber high-rise designed by White Arkitekter; Modulus Homes, net-zero affordable housing in Karachi, Pakistan; Mario Cucinella Architects’ TECLA – a 3D-printed house made from raw earth; Snøhetta’s energy-positive Powerhouse Brattørkaia in Trondheim, Norway; and the bamboo Heart of School building in Bali by Ibuku.
Powerhouse Brattørkaia by Snøhetta. Photograph: Ivar Kvaal
British projects showcased include Hope Rise in Bristol – a ZED PODS development of affordable, zero-carbon social housing – and the University of East Anglia Enterprise Centre in Norwich, a Passivhaus timber project designed by Architype and BDP that supports sustainable businesses. Also featured in the virtual exhibition is a central installation by Make Architects, The Fountain of Circular Recovery, which highlights opportunities for recovery, reuse and recycling in the built environment to establish a truly circular economy.
The University of East Anglia Enterprise Centre by Architype and BDP. Photograph: BDP
Build Better Now is supported by a coalition of over 100 partner organisations from the built environment industry, in eluding the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC). ‘The world is ready to tackle climate change and the built environment has a crucial part to play,’ says Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at UKGBC.
‘We know why we must accelerate climate action and Build Better Now shows how we can get there. Everyone on the planet has a stake in our buildings and cities. I invite everyone to take inspiration from Build Better Now as a global showcase of pioneering solutions to climate change and hope that it supports the industry to create more sustainable buildings, places and cities of the future.’
TECLA by Mario Cucinella Architects. Photograph: Iago Corazza
Build Better Now at the Built Environment Virtual Pavilion at COP26 is hosted online from 31 October to 12 November 2021. To visit virtually, click here