The British Papers

The British Papers: Current Thinking on Sustainable Design is a collection of short essays written by some of Britain’s leading figures in architecture, urban planning, conservation and landscape architecture.  RIBA’s past president Angela Brady invited the 35 contributors included in this book to write a short article about their thoughts and approaches to sustainable city-making. The result is a compendium on the philosophy and evolution of green design in today’s quick changing built environment.

Inventor of the green skyscraper and author of Eco Architecture and Green Design: From Theory to Practice Dr Ken Yeang, draws on his 40 years of experience in the field of sustainable architecture to look at the starting point of this debate by asking – what is green design?  Yeang argues that engineering and technological advances alone are not sufficient to achieve a satisfactory level of greenness, and that unless we succeed in realizing the environmental biointegration of everything we make, we will continue to struggle against the challenge of climate change facing us today.

In Constructive Conservation, Planning and Conservation Director at English Heritage, Carol Pyrah, expounds English Heritage’s approach of rehabilitating historic buildings by giving them alternative uses that are better suited to the current needs of that particular area.  With the help of aesthetically sensitive modern interventions, previously disused buildings can help transform urban areas by generating employment, attracting cultural centres, and helping previously existing businesses in the area, thus generating economic growth.  The advantage of this particular approach not only helps conserve the architectural past of cities, it stops further energy consumption by avoiding unnecessary demolitions followed by a new build.

Other contributors include the creators of the CPUL concept Andre Viljoen and Professor Katrin Bohn. Their contribution touches on how the implementation of urban agriculture projects can foment biodiversity and support more resilient and coherent ecosystems. A more comprehensive presentation of their approach to the creation of productive landscapes is available from their previously published works –  Second Nature Urban AgricultureDesigning Productive Cities and CPULs Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes.  Architect of South London’s pioneering zero carbon housing project BedZED, Bill Dunster (the ZEDbook: solutions for a shrinking world) writes about the need for prototyping and testing new urban morphologies instead of resisting environmental innovation by insisting on familiar cut and paste approaches to design.  The cooling effect of trees, improvement of urban air quality, sustainable public transport infrastructures and many other topics affecting the evolution of our cities are also discussed inside this important volume.

The British Papers, which retails at £10.00 is available from our shop at Portland Place or online. The book was launched in the RIBA Bookshop on March’s Late Night Tuesday at the RIBA’s headquarters.  If you missed the party you can find out more about future RIBA late night events here.

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