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Sustainable ArchitectureProf. Avlokita AgrawalDepartment of Architecture and PlanningIndian Institute of Technology, RoorkeeLecture-11Definition and Characteristics of SustainabilityGood morning, welcome back to the online course on Sustainable Architecture. And, Iam your course Coordinator Dr. Avlokita Agrawal Assistant Professor at Department ofArchitecture and Planning IIT Roorkee. Till the last lecture, we have discussed about theimpacts of development and impacts of built environment on the natural environment.We have seen how the concept and discussions around sustainable development initiatedand how it grew to discuss the present form of definitions which we have for sustainabledevelopment.So, far we have not discussed anything about sustainable architecture specifically. So,from this week onwards, we will be talking specifically about sustainable architecture,we would talk about the different processes on how to create, how to design sustainablearchitecture, what all does it involve and how do we exactly do it.(Refer Slide Time: 01:31)So, before we start discussing about sustainable architecture and the specific details of it;let us look at the different scales of sustainable built environment. Now, architecture is asubset of built environment. The built environment has various scales from micro to macro. The built environment may be as large as a region itself. The entire region whichhas different built systems for example, the cities, the neighborhoods, the infrastructurethat goes into the cities. And, it also has some of the manmade environments, which maynot look as built as much built as cities and buildings, but yet they are built environmentfor example, the agricultural fields.The region will have all of these different types of built environment all comingtogether. And, when we talk about sustainable built environment at a regional scale, weare talking of the bigger system. Now, this bigger system, macro system, consists ofsmaller systems, like neighborhoods. Further broken down into smaller systems like asite, the site itself may be comprised of a number of buildings.Now, this building sustainable building or what we would usually refer as sustainablearchitecture. When, we talk about sustainable built environment and specifically come tosustainable architecture, we are often talking about a site, where on which a building isgoing to be constructed both of these to be designed in a sustainable manner.(Refer Slide Time: 03:35)Now, if we look at the basic elements of sustainable habitat. We can categorize them intwo distinct parts; one is building and the other is the site or the surrounding of thatbuilding, but both of these defined on a limited piece of plot. So, when we are talkingabout building the elements would be same materials, the location of it, different aspects and systems for example, energy, water, thermal comfort systems which create thermalcomfort and so on.Now, this is the part which we will be largely dealing with, but this part is directlyaffected by and it affects it is surroundings. For example, the land on which it is beingconstructed. So, the land around it, these transport systems and the infrastructure, whichcaters to this building. And, the building in turn affects this infrastructure, theenvironmental management of waste and water vice versa and energy, renewable sourcesand energy efficiency within the building.So, when we are talking about sustainable architecturearchitecture, we are talking aboutprimarily these two components. Now, we come to defining what sustainablearchitecture is.(Refer Slide Time: 04:55)Sustainable architecture is a subset of sustainable development. So, the triple bottomline, which is used to define to evaluate, sustainable development holds good forsustainable architecture as well. The basic fundamentals remain the same; it is only howthe manifestation takes place. So, when we are talking about sustainable development ata very large scale; we are talking about people, their economic resources, theemployment, the opportunities employment opportunities that they have. However, when we will be discussing about buildings, there we might not necessarily betalking about the employment opportunities when we are talking about people, the socialaspects of it. Rather, rather. We would be talking about thermal comfort for people. Wewould be talking about visual comfort; we would be talking about connectivity of peoplewith from indoor to outdoor. So, these are the aspects which we would be talking aboutwhen we are discussing the social aspects. So, the parameters, the broad bottom linesremain the same only the manifestations the physical forms of them, they would changewhen we are discussing about sustainable architecture.Now, when we talk about sustainable architecture or architecture in general, we realizethat architecture is for people and it is an economic exercise, which has hugeenvironmental cost, huge environmental impact. So, we are essentially talking about allthe three domains and we have to respond to each one of them individually. Now, puttingthese three different domains together to come as sustainable architecture, we can definesustainable architecture through some basic characteristics.(Refer Slide Time: 07:15)The characteristics are resource equity. Now, that is one of the most importantcharacteristiccharacteristics of sustainable architecture, which is equitable use ofresources. Now, any building or architecture, which has to qualify a sustainablearchitecture, has to use the resources in such a manner, that it is equally available toeveryone. A building, which is very lavish in terms of resource consumption, resource use, cannot be qualified as a sustainable building; however, environment friendly it mayseem.So, there it is a slight difference, we are addressing the socio economicsocio-economicaspects as well when we are talking about resource equity. The next is embodied energy.Now, this particular characteristic is largely environmental. So, sustainable architectureengages, uses the resources which have very less embodied energy. What is an embodiedenergy, we will know about that in subsequent lectures, but in very basic laymanlanguage, embodied energy is the energy which is embodied in a material or in a process.So, for example, I have a material say glass.Now, huge amount of energy fuel is required to make glass. So, a sheet of glass has a lotof energy, which is embodied in it, which is contained in it, which is consumed throughthe process of it is manufacturing. So, any sustainable building has to have very lessembodied energy, which implies we have to use materials, which consume less energyfor their manufacturing.The third is global community, whenever we are looking at sustainable architecture, wemust think of the global scenario though we have to act locally. So, it implies that Imight have a surplus of one resource. For example, I might be a country, which is veryrich in petroleum reserves, the fuel reserves, yet I have to design the buildings in such amanner that I consume less of that resource, despite it being available to me inabundance. Because, the global scenario is a scenario where we should use less and lessof conventional fuels, this is what it implies by the global community.The next characteristics is economics, we have to be aware of the larger economics,which is prevailing around us regionally, nationally and internationally. We have to beaware of all the economic resources, which are distributed equally or unequally. And,hence make our buildings which have to be less and less economy exhaustive. The nextis renewability. Now, this is again an environmental characteristic, we have to look at thematerials which are renewable, we have to look at the energy supply the fuel supply,which is renewable.We have to look at the use of resources in such a manner that it is renewed. For example,use of water consumption of water. So, the wastewater goes back into the recycling, the renewable aspect of it. The waste is the materials that are being wasted are againrenewed in some or the other form, this is what we implied by renewability in buildings.The next very important characteristic is traditional wisdom. Couple of decades backtraditional systems were looked at with an appreciation, a sense of appreciation, but notas a subject which required a lot of research or from where we could derive. However,over the years researchers and scientists have found that the traditional systems ofconstruction of designing the buildings, they were improvised and improvised overcenturies and that is why they present at times the best of these systems as far asbuildings are being discussed.That is why instead of reinventing the wheel designing something absolutely new. It isalways advisable to look back at the traditional wisdom, which is available and thenmove on, from the existing point which has been established through traditional wisdommeans. The next is institutionalizing change. Now, unfortunately whenever we discussabout sustainable architecture, a lot of my students often question, that what do we do ifour client is not ready to go for a sustainable building. At the end of the day we arearchitects and we have to respond to the clients need.Now, that is where as an informed architect, we can do our better architecture can help toinstitutionalize the change. We can see examples of many sustainable buildings, whichhave changed the way people looked at the buildings and perceived how a design forsuch a building could come up. For example, couple of schools one of these we wouldsee in one of the lectures, upcoming lectures, within this week, where how the materialswere chosen, how the design came up to be, has changed the way people looked ateducation itself.We have several other examples, for example, the gates foundation building, where anentire ground floor and the landscape area has been opened up to the people ofresidential community around it. So, it is about changing the waythe way people look atarchitectural building and the use of this building, which is what we mean byinstitutionalizing change and that to a great extent is in the hands of architects. If, wevery clearly know what we want to do and how do we want to do it.The last characteristic of sustainable architecture here is technology with the changingtimes and with the changing challenges that we have and new and new technologies coming to the market available to us, while we use traditional wisdom, we also have touse the latest technology. Most of this technology is helping us save resources. It ishelping us operate and manage the buildings better, it is helping us to consume lesseramount of resources, land, for example, is a precious resource in today’s time, the citiesare becoming denser.More and more people are moving to urban areas. And, that is why to save a preciousresource as land, we have to rely on technological advancements. For example, thevertical buildings, the high rises. So, instead of spreading horizontally in aner city, weuse technology to go vertical. Now, a vertical building can also be sustainable and I havealways discussed and argued that sustainability is always context specific.Now, in a city which is very dense, we cannot advocate the growth of a horizontal city,where we know that the density is very- very high, it will always be more sustainable togo for a vertical building and use the rest of the area to green to leave it as green openarea. Now, this is just one context, this is not a solution to every context.So, any sustainable architecture or any sustainable solution will always have to becontext specific, it has to respond to the context. In the same manner, the technology thatwill be chosen, the technology which will be employed also has to be context specific.(Refer Slide Time: 17:19) So, for employing these characteristics of sustainable architecture into buildings, we canfollow various themes. And, here we will look at some of the very popular and constantthemes, which the designers and architects employ to design and deliver sustainablebuildings. So, the first theme which is also the most important theme is tradition. Now, itjust as we have discussed in the essential characteristics of sustainable architecture,traditional wisdom is very important to be taken from. So, we first understand the wefirst gather the accumulated knowledge of the generations in dealing with this same setof problems. Almost the same set of problems for example, climate of a place, forexample, the resource availability of a place.So, such common set of challenges have already been answered through traditionalwisdom. And, hence often the solutions to sustainable architecture have a lot of learning,have a lot of solutions from the traditional side. The next is which is also an importantcharacteristic of sustainable architecture, which is technology. So, we have to understandthe context find out some of these solutions through the traditional means and then forthe new set of challenges, which we have, we have to look for solutions through thetechnology advancement. The last theme which at times overpowers all other themes andbecomes the major driving force is urbanism.Now, the pace at which our urban areas are growing and the kind of new challenges, thatthese new urban areas the ever growingever-growing urban areas pose in front of us. Nodevelopment, no architecture can be developed made as a sustainable development orarchitecture, if the challenges from the urban side are not properly assessed and thencatered too. Now, this is something which we often do not find through traditionalwisdom often not always. And, here technology comes to rescue of the challenges whichare posed through urbanism. Let us look at each of these things individually and in alittle depth. (Refer Slide Time: 20:25)Now, tradition and technology are often set against each other. However, it is notnecessary and it should not happen. Now, as I was mentioning earlier also traditionalwisdom, traditional solutions, were actually looked at as a fantasy by the modernresearchers. We were looking at them with an aesthetic appreciation. However, untilalmost 1980s we realized, researchers realized that there is a lot of potential, for research,for understanding these traditional systems in a better manner. And, then use them fortheir implementation into the modern system or for solving modern day problems.One essential thing which traditional systems had invariably was their sensitivity towardsenvironment. Across the world traditional architecture, traditional systems of architecturehave respected environment. And, they have responded to the local context and theenvironment, which is what can very conveniently be understood and the solutions maybe adopted in the modern times for the for solving the contemporary problems. (Refer Slide Time: 21:59)The next is technology as a theme. Now, this particular example is diamond ranch highschool in California, by architect Thom Mayne. And, here the choice of materials, thechoice of structural system, the choice of systems used for creating thermal comfortinside the building, all have been enabled through the use of high endhigh-endtechnology. Yet the design, the way buildings were oriented, the way site was used, theplacement of the buildings was done, was once derived motivated from the traditionalarchitectural systems solutions.Hence, with the help of technology in solving some of the very complicated problems orserious challenges for example, this one which was on a steep hillside, where veryefficient and robust structural systems have enabled to construct technology can actuallyhelp in overcoming such challenges, while traditional systems at the same time can helpin providing with established solutions. (Refer Slide Time: 23:37)Now, the third theme which we have seen is urbanism as a challenge. Now, cities whichhave a lot of opportunities, economic opportunities, often that is why more and morepeople are shifting to urban areas, they come and they itself become a source ofenvironmental problems and beyond that social problems as well which we have seen inthe past lectures.Now, for solving these problems, we have to assess the problem the challenge properly.If, we do not assess the challenge, we will not be able to provide this specific solution toit. So, to provide this solution we have to understand the challenge, we have to identifyand assess this challenge. Now, that is where, if we look at sustainable architecture allthe researches which are being carried out in the domain of sustainable architecture fallwithin one of these 3 domains.Either we are trying to identify the traditional solutions understand them and thenimplement them, improvise and implement them in modern day scenario, that is onewhere a lot of research is being done. The second one in developing new and newtechnology so, developing new ways of treating water and you developing newmaterials, developing new systems HVAC and all that. So, this is the technology.So, we are researching in that domain lot of research is actually happened, happening inthe technology domain. And, the third domain is of urbanism, urbanism domain, where a lot of studies and research is being carried out to just understand the context andchallenges.Once, we have those challenges and context clear to us that is when the solutions whichare being derived from the tradition as a theme and technology as a theme they can beimplemented. So, together these three, form the distinct and most important themes ofsustainable architecture and all the research and studies, which are being carried out insustainable architecture.(Refer Slide Time: 26:01)Now, some of the architects have understood the concept and the fundamentals ofsustainable architecture long before it was being discussed the way we are doing.Sustainable architecture probably was not even a term which was coined at that time,when these architects were creating these buildings. One of the most noted architects,who worked on sustainable architecture, is Hassan Fathy. He was an Egyptian architect.And, this particular picture is actually a market in Kharga Oasis in Egypt.Now, unlike a lot of architects, who were fascinated by the western market concept.Hassan Fathy developed design of this market absolutely new building though it does notlook like. The unique point being taking the traditional design the established designsolutions from traditional architecture, which is of using walls, using domes, for creatingspaces, using wind catchers, using these domes as exhaust for hot air, using verandas allaround for cutting off the direct radiation and all these and incorporating them into a intothe design of a marketplace, which was an out and out or modern use and along with thedesign.Also using materials which are locally available, which are easily available at less costand are also environment friendly for example, adobe, this earth which was abundantlyavailable and also performs very good as far as thermal is thermal efficiency isconcerned. So, the architecture of Hassan Fathy was actually very sensitive and it bears,it has all the characteristics of sustainable architecture which we have seen just now. It isresource efficient,efficient; it uses the resources which are available to the common man,the adobe, the boulders, the bricks out of these and along with that, it continues forwardit takes lessons from the traditional wisdom carries it forward.The concept of the market itself is a new idea; it was a global idea having a centralmarket. However, the response to it was out and out local. So, it is a global community.So, all these themes looking at tradition as a theme using technology not as much in thisparticular example, but provide probably because it was not much needed here, but if itwas then taking the help of technology for solving a specific problem.(Refer Slide Time: 29:23)Most of the architecture of HasaanHassan Fathy, whether it be the entire new cornervillage, the entire settlement all the buildings in it, or designing this new marketplace, ordesigning the residence for the prince, princess house. (Refer Slide Time: 29:35)Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan’s house was designed by Hassan Fathyih. He was designingfor one of the most prestigious persons, most important persons in that area and yet if welook at the design of Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan’s house. He is used the same materials,which are available to the local to the common man, he is used the same designprinciple, same design solutions, which were available from traditional times astraditional wisdom, using domes wind catchers, courtyards, worldsvaults for solving theproblem, using the same materials and same type of architecture for creating a buildingfor a prince.This is institutionalizing change; it must have not been easy for Hassan Fathy toconvince a prince to construct his house, to construct his home, using the same materials,while the prince might have had availability or the capacity to procure any resource inthe world both economically and other ways. However, as an architect Hassan Fathy wasable to convince the prince to construct his house using the same traditional techniquethat is what institutionalizing change is. (Refer Slide Time: 31:19)Another architect which I often quote is Le Corbusier all of us have heard about LeCorbusier and the kind of architecture modernistic architecture as we would see. So, it isat times very difficult to understand how are we referring to his buildings as sustainablebuildings or sustainable architecture. However, if we look at some of the Corbusierbuilding especially the later buildings and the one’s which are done for India.We look at them and the solutions that he has incorporated the design that he hasincorporated is fit for the context. This building for Chandigarh uses some of thetraditional techniques though they look modern. For example, the use of Braisollezil a,the use of shading devices, the use of jaollies, the use of water bodies around it, it is allabsolutely context specific. Though the aesthetics is modernist the overall look of thisbuilding is modernist aesthetics yet it shows a great sensitivity to the context and thematerials which are used to construct these buildings. (Refer Slide Time: 32:45)So, the works of Le Corbusier and this is an absolute contrast to the kind of architecturehe created for the west, because the context was absolutely different. All the buildingswhich Corbusier did for India did not use glass and large areas, which are exposed todirect sun unlike his buildings which he did for the west, where huge glass facades,where sun could penetrate in and heat up the interiors, which was actually needed unlikethe Indian buildings, where none of the windows are left directly exposed to the sun, theyhave shading over them, they have projected verandas, they have projected roof whichcuts off all the direct sun.(Refer Slide Time: 33:39) Another Indian architect whose work can be qualified as sustainable architecture is B VDoshi. Now, here I would say that few of these architects, who I have included as part ofthis lecture are not the only ones the list is exhaustive. And, it is practically impossiblefor me to cover all those names; I am just taking few works and few architects to explainmy point of sustainable architecture.So, in the worlds of B. V. Doshi we see the western modernism with the traditionalenvironmental responsiveness. Along with the environmental responsiveness and themodernist approach, we see a great sensitivity in Doshi’s work for people. He hasworked on the slum redevelopment programs exhaustively and the kind of model that hedeveloped for the slum redevelopment for these houses. Shows a great sensitivitytowards people which is an intrinsic quality of sustainable architecture, where people areat the center of it.It is not that we create the building and then we force people to use it, the way buildinghas been designed; it should always be the other way around. We understand whatpeople do how people use their buildings and then we design these buildings. So, thatpeople are happily using those buildings, which is the quality of though Doshi’s she’sworks.We also have Louis I Khanlow icon the kind of buildings Louis I Khan has createdespecially the ones at, IIM Ahmadabad. The environment the climate is responded to in abeautiful manner along with the aesthetics it is modern yet the solutions are traditional.He uses a lot of verandas uses a lot of Jallies and Jarokhas, these become the places forstudent’s staff to interact yet at the same time responding to the climatic context. (Refer Slide Time: 35:55)So, from the works of these few architects, we can look at we can identify some of theoverarching principles, which help us deliver the sustainable architecture, based upon thecharacteristics which we have already identified. So, to start with the first and theforemost activity the step would be prior assessment of proposed activity. We have tounderstand and that is where when I repeatedly say urbanism as a challenge. So, it maynot be necessarily urbanism as a challenge, but any context has to be assessed andunderstood properly.Once, we have done that the next step is involve people in the decision making. Majorityof the times, we do not involve people who are going to be the prospective users of thesebuildings. Most of the time we as architects design buildings, based upon what thedeveloper or whoever the client is who is constructing the building not necessarily theuser. So, we are more driven by what the client wants and what we have to share as anexperience and construct the building.Unfortunately, in this entire process people are left out, they do not have any role indecision making so, wherever possible as far as possible people shall be involved indecision making. The third is to recognize the necessity of comparing alternative courseof action. Now, this alternative course of action could be for every decision that is to bemade, for example, the choice of materials, for example, the alternative of design, adesign alternative altogether. Even before the design alternative the alternative for the usage of space in multiple ways what people want, what different type of possiblealternatives to the same space could be.So, we have to come were the alternates and it is always a good idea, because we arecomparing based upon a lot of factors, economy is one important factor, social needs ofpeople is another one and environmental. So, the triple bottom line of sustainablearchitecture remains. And, hence we when we compare these options, we would be ableto pick up the one which is most efficient.Fourth one is to utilize lifecycle framework. Now, while comparing and assessing thesealternatives. We have to have the life cycle approach, we cannot look at the building onlyup till it is constructed and delivered, we have to look at the entire lifecycle where thebuilding will be operating. People will be using that building they will be consumingresources electricity, fuel, water, materials, throughout the course of this building.So, we have to look at the lifecycle framework. And, we have to commit to the continualimprovement of the design and construction process. In order to do that we have to settargets; we have to monitor evaluate and also regulate. We cannot just take learning’suntil a point and then stop growing; we have to continuously grow for each project andproject of the project, if we really want to deliver sustainable buildings sustainablearchitecture.