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Institute endorses architects’ declaration of climate emergency

The Australian Institute of Architects has endorsed a declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency made by Australian architects.

On 25 July, a cohort of Australian architects joined the global Architects Declare movement. Thirty architects and practices, including 11 Australian Institute of Architects’ gold medallists formed Australia’s founding signatories to the declaration.

“The climate crisis is the critical challenge of our times,” said the Institute’s national president Helen Lochhead. “We know that buildings and construction play a huge part in our energy and resource consumption, environmental depletion and waste, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of Greenhouse Gas (CO2) emissions. We know that as architects, we can do something about this through the decisions we make on a daily basis.

“Together with our clients, we can develop and design buildings, cities and infrastructure that reset the paradigm. We can strengthen our work practices to create architecture and urbanism that has a more positive impact on the world around us.

“Importantly, as architects, we have a duty of care to the entire community, acknowledged in our code of conduct.

“The Australian Institute of Architects commits to taking action to support our members to effect change.”

CEO Julia Cambage added, “This is a powerful show of collective action. At the Institute, our role is to provide leadership on the issues that matter to our members and the broader community. We intend to put the full weight of the Institute behind this issue to show how architects can make a difference.”

The Institute is developing a plan that will explore reducing its carbon footprint operationally and review how its awards program benchmarks best practice, as well as continuing professional development. It will also review how its policy and advocacy can influence a more sustainable built environment.

“We intend to work with our international peers, the Royal Institute of British Architects and the American Institute of Architects, to create a local and global response to this call to action,” Cambage said.

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