Andrés Perea and Bruno Sauer call for a radical change to the architectural model at Foros 2022 to tackle the environmental crisis

Both speakers agreed on the need to commit to a new paradigm based on a commitment to the environment in order to tackle the great ecological impact caused by construction

On 23 March, the UIC Barcelona Aula Magna lecture theatre hosted a new session, part of the Foros 2022 series of lectures organised by the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture. The lecture titled “Environmental Commitment” was led by architect Andrés Perea, ad honorem lecturer at the Higher Technical School of Architecture in Madrid (ETSAM), and Bruno Sauer, general director of the Green Building Council Spain (GBCe). Felipe Pich-Aguilera, director of the School’s Sustainability Area, was tasked with moderating the session.

In their talk, the two speakers stressed the urgent need for architecture to make a radical paradigm shift towards a commitment to the environment. Andrés Perea argued that the current environmental situation demands new commitments from architects and implies a departure from styles and a radical change in current architectural theory and criticism. “We must urgently review architects’ traditional role, who now need to be extremely flexibility. We have to understand that architecture’s expiry date is creative material for the sustainable architect”, he said. He illustrated this by discussing projects by architects such as Andrés Jaque and Santiago Cirujeda.

Bruno Sauer argued that the rules of the game of traditional architecture have changed forever, stating that in this new context, architects have to look to the future and be ambitious, working in a sustainable way and understanding the enormous diversity and complexity that this implies. “40% of global CO2 is produced by the construction industry. We have to accept that there are certain materials and ways of designing that are no longer acceptable due to their long-term impact on the environment. This is something we architects have to take seriously so that change can occur as soon as possible”, he said.
In the final Q&A session, both speakers also stressed the need for this paradigm shift to filter down into the classroom, by reviewing the curricula of schools of architecture to incorporate sustainability as a central and cross-disciplinary focus.

Foros 2022 is centred on the theme “The leap into the void”. This new series calls for self-awareness regarding architecture today in its different aspects and fields of application. As a new feature, the lecture series is introducing a new format based on a two-way dialogue between professionals from the sector who partake in sessions structured by themes linked to current architectural practice and the challenges facing the sector.

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