Repair, rejuvenation, and regeneration __ Season 4 insights

Ecogradia
Ecogradia
Repair, rejuvenation, and regeneration __ Season 4 insights
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Repair, rejuvenation, and regeneration __ Season 4 insights

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Ecogradia
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Repair, rejuvenation, and regeneration __ Season 4 insights
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Can architecture heal our planet? In this bonus episode, we delve into the power of regenerative design. From restoring existing structures to rethinking material ownership, find out how sustainability and healing go hand in hand.

Looking back, a common thread has emerged from our guests in season 4: regenerative design, and the range of forms it takes. We explored a spectrum of regenerative practices, from urban renewal projects that create safer, more enjoyable spaces, to community-focused designs that foster social and ecological healing.

This bonus episode revisits conversations with experts such as Stuart Smith, who emphasises the importance of circularity. Among others, we also hear from Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse on their approaches to social healing through architecture. The perspectives are diverse, but they share long-term and wide-reaching betterment as a prime objective.

Episode outline

00:43:56 “We have to make some major choices. Maybe even to the extent that we cannot solve everything at the same time.”
00:04:11 The three waves of sustainability
00:07:58 “If you are told that you can’t do something, there is a natural tendency in Australia to say, “Well, bugger you, Jack”. […] The idea that you could regulate to make houses more energy efficient falls on deaf ears. ”
00:10:25 “You don’t encourage people to do it. You don’t say to people, ‘You must do it, and this is the regulation.’ You simply disguise it by saying, ‘It’s actually going to be good for you.’ Do not use the word ‘sustainable’.”
00:11:15 Cities should be for people
00:12:03 “What needs to be in a public space? Well, what doesn’t need to be there are cars, because cars have a footprint that ruins everything that is dealing with true city life.”
00:12:52 “When you remove the cars […] you see your city in a new way. All of a sudden you’re located in a place where you’ve never ever been in your city except inside a car driving through. It’s crazy.”
00:15:42 Healing through remembrance
00:17:20 “It was the first building which was made to heal […] from these 20 years that caused more than 70,000 deaths. […] So how can we take remembrance as an opportunity, and not as a burden, […] to see a better future?”
00:18:53 “Most societies, in these traumatic periods of history, they try to heal by forgetting, and I think it’s much deeper and much more difficult, but much more sustainable to heal by remembering.”
00:29:07 Reinventing material supply systems
00:32:46 “20% of the carbon in embodied carbon is in the fit-out materials. If you can […] perhaps not necessarily own them, but have them supplied to you as a service, then you can take them all apart and give them back to the supplier and they can remanufacture them into something else.”
00:41:20 Good versus good
00:42:15 “The environmentalists wanted to chop down all the chestnut trees in order to create bicycle roads. […] You get 50,000 more people to ride bicycles instead of cars, but you chop down hundreds of trees […] to make that happen. […] I don’t know which choice is right. Both have good intentions.”
00:43:24 “We don’t know yet how much energy some of these turbines have to produce in order for them to pay back even their own footprint. These are the dilemmas […] and there is no obvious solution to it.”

Summary

Tone Wheeler, founder of environa studio in Sydney, kicks off the discussion by leading us through the historical waves of Australia’s journey toward sustainability. The first wave, he says, focused on moral encouragement and awareness. It failed to make a lasting impact due to economic pressures and cheap energy from coal and gas.

The second wave saw tighter government regulation, but also fell short as Australians resisted rules that impinged on their lifestyle. Tone highlights the shift towards wellness in the third wave, where the focus moves from energy efficiency to enhancing comfort and health in living spaces.

The Bourke + Phillip apartment building in Sydney exemplifies Tone’s approach of unobtrusive design that prioritises performance and human experience.
© environa studio

Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, co-founder of Snøhetta, shares how his team healed Times Square (New York, United States) by removing cars. This created a safer, more enjoyable urban environment. “Cars have a footprint that ruins everything that is dealing with true city life,” says Kjetil.

Snøhetta’s reinvention of Times Square led to significant reductions in pedestrian injuries, accidents, and even crime rates.
© Michael Grimm

Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse, from the Peruvian firm Barclay & Crousse, talk through their project Place of Remembrance (Lima, Peru). This memorial for the country’s turbulent political history uses architecture as a vessel for healing not only the environment, but also the surrounding community.

Barclay & Crousse’s Place of Remembrance integrates architecture with landscape, using local building techniques and materials to support social healing.
© Cristóbal Palma

The concept of adaptive reuse typically applies to the repurposing of existing buildings. Stuart Smith, an engineer with Arup, extends this idea to materials.

Circularity, which he defines as maintaining materials at their highest value for as long as possible, emphasises the need for design that allows for disassembly and reuse.

Stuart and the Arup team created The Circular Building for London Design Festival (United Kingdom) in 2016 as a prototype to illustrate circularity principles.
© Daniel Imade

As season 4 concludes with this bonus episode, it becomes clear that striking a delicate balance between innovation and healing is essential to achieving the shared goal of planetary wellness.

The importance of regeneration in architecture cannot be overstated. It’s about more than just reducing harm; it’s about actively doing good — revitalising spaces, restoring ecosystems, and fostering community well-being.

Episode Notes

Keep reading if you want to deep dive into this interview’s content and get more out of it. You can also find out more about this episode’s guest/s and sponsor/s, and the team that put it all together.

This episode is brought to you by:

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction

The Holcim Foundation helps drive systemic change towards a more sustainable built environment. It was founded in 2003 to define and promote the key principles of sustainability for the construction sector and is committed to accelerating the sector’s transformation so that people and the planet can thrive.

The Foundation has investigated various aspects of sustainable construction via a series of roundtables and conferences with international experts. It has also recognised excellent contributions to this field with the Holcim Awards which are considered the world’s most significant competition for sustainable design.

Committed to a holistic approach that recognises the equal importance and interdependence of four key goals, the Foundation combines the collective knowledge, ideas, and solutions of our global community of experts with a recognised platform of international competitions to democratise thought leadership for the entire sector.

W  |  holcimfoundation.org

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  LinkedIn  |  YouTube  |  Instagram

This episode is brought to you by:

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction

The Holcim Foundation helps drive systemic change towards a more sustainable built environment. It was founded in 2003 to define and promote the key principles of sustainability for the construction sector and is committed to accelerating the sector’s transformation so that people and the planet can thrive.

The Foundation has investigated various aspects of sustainable construction via a series of roundtables and conferences with international experts. It has also recognised excellent contributions to this field with the Holcim Awards which are considered the world’s most significant competition for sustainable design.

Committed to a holistic approach that recognises the equal importance and interdependence of four key goals, the Foundation combines the collective knowledge, ideas, and solutions of our global community of experts with a recognised platform of international competitions to democratise thought leadership for the entire sector.

W  |  holcimfoundation.org

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  LinkedIn  |  YouTube  |  Instagram

As mentioned in this episode

If you heard it in this episode, we likely have a link for it right here. Click on any topics, people, buildings, places, products and/or technologies listed below to learn more about each of them.

00:01:13 “…resource, drive, circularity. We definitely…”
“Circular economy: definition, importance and benefits”  |  European Parliament
00:07:07 “…is an energy crisis in 1973 in the United States…”
“Arab oil embargo”  |  Britannica
00:30:25 “…of the London Design Festival in September…”
“London Design Festival”  |  London Design Festival
00:31:57 “…we have material passports. So basically…”
“On the journey to a circular economy, don’t forget your materials passport”  |  Metabolic
00:36:55 “…towards designed obsolescence. That’s…”
“Planned Obsolescence: What Is It and How to Overcome It”  |  Sierra Club
00:00:42 “…Barclay and Crousse spoke of…”
“Barclay & Crousse”  |  Barclay & Crousse
00:01:05 “…Stuart Smith of Arup…”
“Simplifying the carbon conundrum __ Stuart Smith __ Arup”  |  Ecogradia
00:01:06 “…Smith of Arup discussed signposts…”
“Arup”  |  Arup
00:01:06 “…star architect Bjarke Ingels and Kjetil…”
“BIG has a plan for the planet: Can it be done? __ Bjarke Ingels”  |  Ecogradia
00:01:52 “…Ingels, and Kjetil Thorsen, co-founder of…”
“Unleash the power of process __ Kjetil Trædal Thorsen __ Snøhetta”  |  Ecogradia
00:01:56 “…Norwegian firm Snøhetta, who both…”
“Snøhetta”  |  Snøhetta
00:02:03 “…echoed by Sandra Barclay and Jean…”
“Connecting people to place __ Barclay & Crousse”  |  Ecogradia
00:02:04 “…Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse from Peru…”
“Connecting people to place __ Barclay & Crousse”  |  Ecogradia
00:02:06 “…from Peru. Brinda Somaya from India…”
“Guardian of the built and unbuilt __ Brinda Somaya __ SNK”  |  Ecogradia
00:02:07 “…from India, Võ Trọng Nghĩa from Vietnam…”
“Calm the mind, connect with place __ Võ Trọng Nghĩa __ VTN Architects”  |  Ecogradia
00:02:09 “…Vietnam, and Tone Wheeler from Australia…”
“Suburbia is sprawling (and how to fix it) __ Tone Wheeler __ environa studio”  |  Ecogradia
00:02:36 “…Leonard Ng, a landscape architect…”
“Challenging the greenery facade __ Leonard Ng __ Henning Larsen”  |  Ecogradia
00:02:38 “…with Henning Larsen in Singapore…”
“Henning Larsen”  |  Henning Larsen
00:02:42 “…roofs, and Liz Minné broke down…”
“Raising the floor on innovative carbon solutions __ Liz Minné __ Interface”  |  Ecogradia
00:02:45 “…followed by Interface, the American…”
“Interface”  |  Interface
00:12:26 “…removed through Jan Gehl’s first studies…”
“Jan Gehl”  |  Project for Public Spaces
00:30:58 “…work of Stewart Brand, a researcher…”
“Stewart Brand”  |  Wikipedia
00:39:15 “…at the Norman Foster Foundation around circularity…”
“Norman Foster Foundation”  |  Norman Foster Foundation
00:40:16 “…work of Lacaton & Vassal who’ve really…”
“Lacaton & Vassal”  |  Lacaton & Vassal
00:41:04 “…love what Alejandro Aravena says…”
“Alejandro Aravena”  |  Britannica
00:00:26 “…In Times Square, Snøhetta sought…”
“Times Square”  |  Snøhetta
00:00:38 “…inhabitants of New York. They see…”
“New York City” (New York, United States)  |  Britannica
00:01:43 “…based in Singapore. Season four…”
“Singapore”  |  Britannica
00:02:05 “…Crousse from Peru. Brinda Somaya…”
“Peru”  |  Britannica
00:02:06 “…Somaya from India, Võ Trọng…”
“India”  |  Britannica
00:02:08 “…Nghĩa from Vietnam, and Tone…”
“Vietnam”  |  Britannica
00:02:10 “…Wheeler from Australia. All architects…”
“Australia”  |  Britannica
00:02:33 “…based in Berlin, unpacked carbon…”
“Berlin” (Brandenburg, Germany)  |  Britannica
00:10:14 “…In the United Kingdom. At the…”
“United Kingdom”  |  Britannica
00:16:34 “…touch on, a Place of Remembrance because the…”
“Place of Remembrance” (Lima, Peru)  |  Barclay & Crousse
00:21:05 “…that separates Lima, the Lima plateau…”
“Lima” (Lima, Lima Province, Peru)  |  Britannica
00:30:23 “…called the Circular Building, which was…”
“The Circular Building: the most advanced reusable building yet” (London, United Kingdom)  |  Arup
00:30:26 “…of the London Design Festival…”
“London” (United Kingdom)  |  Britannica
00:31:01 “…from San Francisco, not the…”
“San Francisco” (California, United States)  |  Britannica
00:37:52 “…for example, Amsterdam where they’re…”
“Amsterdam” (North Holland Province, Netherlands)  |  Britannica
00:38:50 “…or in Indonesia? What is…”
“Indonesia”  |  Britannica
00:39:21 “…plastics in Cairo, and actually…”
“Cairo” (Egypt)  |  Britannica
00:42:09 “…be downtown Oslo and a…”
“Oslo” (Norway)  |  Britannica
00:42:13 “…there called Bygdøy allé. The environmentalists…”
“Bygdøy allé, Oslo” (Norway)  |  GPSmyCity
00:42:49 “…Europe and Norway with the…”
“Norway”  |  Britannica

There are no design features mentioned in this episode.

00:02:48 “…turn their carbon neutral carpet into…”
“Carbon Negative”  |  Interface
00:32:24 “…introduce more biomaterials into the…”
What Are Biomaterials in Architecture?”  |  ArchDaily

Host
Nirmal Kishnani

Producer
Maxime Flores

Editor-at-large
Narelle Yabuka

Managing editor
Kruti Choksi Kothari

Senior communications executive
Sana Gupta

Senior editor
Tyler Yeo

Art director (video)
Alexander Melck  |  Phlogiston

Sound technician and editor
Kelvin Brown  |  Phlogiston

Video editors
Guellor Muguruka  |  Phlogiston
Madelein Myburgh  |  Phlogiston

Graphic design
Stian van Wyk |  Phlogiston

 

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