Of Green Designs and A New Season

Environmental consciousness can be regarded as a moral issue. A responsive design goes deep to the psyche of the designer and his/her collaborating team at large. It is a rigorous exercise designing and building a project that is intrinsically considerate to natural site conditions. Contrast that with the label-seeking designs that set sight on gaining commercial mileage and you have an evil twin to the environmentally sensitive school of thought.

As discussed by various author’s in this issue buildings may not be labelled ‘green’ by virtue of attached simplified technologies to the ‘façades’ or wielding the ‘sustainability’ term. A genuine green building has inbuilt values that will not be perceived by just one human sense. It ought to exhibit measurable components throughout its life cycle, starting at design conception, during the construction process, utilization and eventually decommissioning.

The sustainability question is simple and complex. Simple that with clear conscience the client and the architect can make decisions that add value beyond aesthetics, complicated if an attempt at such decisions are made by an informed or insincere minds. It counts as a rip-off if a designer makes their client feel good on ‘environmentally friendly’ lingo during the design stage and fails to see through the later stages of a project.

Construction process impact, user experience and operational costs are important parameters for determining how eco-friendly a building is. By and large these phases come after the design process has lapsed. Do plan, during design, anticipating implications of these indices.

Green Building

Green Building

Later in these pages simple guidelines are outlined on going about green construction projects, tough questions have also been posed. Can we openly and confidently take the ‘sustainable design’ bull by its horns?

That said, I’d now like to acknowledge the new season. There is a new Chapter Council that has hit the road running. The Chairman message ably sums up the main agenda for the next two years. He broadly states the need to gain back prominence as the lead consultant in the Kenyan building industry. However, realise that the Council’s effort can only go so far minus your input.

Onward, the new editorial team calls on you to regularly contribute. We will endeavour to promote the position of student architect, the graduate architect, the architect and architectural firms. In subsequent issues we will profile individuals and their works as form of connecting with the membership.

Social media ‘noise’ is interruptive to the establishment but could be ignored at one’s own peril. To get in tune with the vibrant Facebook pages and Twitter handles we shall collect sober discussions and present them on a new regular column: “What Architects Are Saying Online”

We have set up online platforms to receive articles, collaborate on content selection, and publish a digital format of the magazine to compliment the printed version. This means that your contributions can be continuous and our editing based on frequent feedback.