7 Ways Architecture Can Tackle Global Warming

O-14, a Dubai tower by RUR Architecture, is covered by a concrete exoskeleton that creates a chimney effect, pipping hot air up through the three-foot-deep space between the perforated shell and the building’s glass windows, keeping the interior cool. As more areas of the world face desert-like conditions due to climate change, this kind of passive climate control could be used to reduce buildings’ carbon footprint.











By Shaunacy Ferro
Feb 24, 2015, Co.DESIGN

These ideas, from a structure made of recycled milk cartons to algae that can boost a sinking city, actually scale.

Architecture is one of the key drivers of climate change. Between construction and the energy required to keep buildings up and running, the industry is responsible for nearly half of the carbon emissions in the U.S.. Technologies and energy-savvy design can lower emissions, and in some cases, even generate energy. But scale proves a significant challenge. One off-the-grid tiny house won’t put a dent in the world’s carbon emissions.

Scale is the issue explored in a new book called Global Design, drawn from the global warming-focused New York University project of the same name. In it, architects Louise Harpman and Mitchell Joachim along with Peder Anker of NYU’s environmental studies department explore climate change solutions from the design world, both completed and conceptual. In contrast to the one-off starchitecture that disregards environmental impact for iconic glory (supertall glass towers in the middle of the desert come to mind), the book celebrates modern architects and researchers who, in both a local and global sense, are working with nature, not in spite of it. The projects address local concerns, but in a warming world, are applicable on a wider scale—innovations like algae that can boost a sinking city, concrete plazas that reflect heat to keep temperatures cool, and skyscrapers that passively combat heat. Read more…

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