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Sustainable placemaking: designing responsibly for the future

Sustainable placemaking: designing responsibly for the future

Our director, Anna Tsartsari, takes over the blog this week to launch our exciting sustainability and wellbeing campaign.

In the last few months, we’ve seen the world’s largest tropical rainforest burn, 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg lead the largest global climate strike and extreme heat waves sweep the nation. The events of this year clearly show that climate change is still a very real threat. And one that is not going away.

There are the simple, everyday activities we can be doing to help save the world: recycling, composting, using our cars less. But at BE Design, we want to go a stage further.

Designing responsibly for the future: where it all started

When Stephen, Simon and I first started BE Design we knew that designing responsibly for the future was a philosophy we wanted to instil across every area of the business. We wanted to develop sustainable projects for our clients. But we also wanted to practice what we preached and incorporate sustainability into the very fabric of BE Design’s culture.

Architecture can make a real difference, by bringing people and communities together to enjoy amazing sustainable places. This is something we believe we’ve achieved but recognise that there’s still more the industry can be doing.

Is ‘sustainability’ just a buzzword?

‘Sustainability’ is certainly a word that gets used a lot in the construction industry. Token gestures – like solar panels – were great ten years ago, but the industry has moved on significantly since then. Buzzwords aren’t good enough anymore.

There are now more opportunities to create greener buildings and we really need to be asking ourselves: what can we be doing better?

Sustainability is just the start.

Wellbeing and biophilic design

‘Going green’ can be interpreted quite literally through the principles of biophilic design. By promoting biophilic design, we recognise the innate need that people have for contact with nature. It plays a vital role in keeping individuals healthy and improving productivity.  Biophilic design is the conscious inclusion of nature in placemaking and architectural design, bringing the great outdoors into our manmade world. Integration of culture and ecology, water, spatial harmony, natural lighting also creates healthier spaces in which to work, live, play and learn. Plus, they are certainly more aesthetically pleasing.

We’re all familiar with BREEAM. But the WELL Standard takes these principles one step further, considering wellbeing of paramount importance of a building’s design. Are your employees happy? Are they producing their best work? Could you improve your staff retention?

WELL Standards place health and wellness at the centre of the design and construction decisions in an attempt to create a happy, motivated and committed workforce.

Sustainable placemaking: what’s next?

Buildings need to be designed with sustainability, wellbeing, low carbon and circular economy principles at their core. We are committed to sustainable placemaking and improving the human experience through our designs.

Whether it’s modular builds or living walls, recycled concrete or precast elements – there are a myriad of exciting opportunities for us to be further exploring. There are exciting changes coming at BE Design. We’re looking forward to working with our clients to show how truly green buildings can benefit them, their tenants and their workforce.

The future is green.

Have you noticed something different about BE Design’s social media icons? Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up-to-date with our latest, green news: @B_E_Design.

Find out more about our sustainability offering here

#BESustainablePlacemaking

#biophilicdesign

#wellbeing

Image: Darlington Market

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