Revolutionizing Architecture to Address the Global Energy Crisis and Climate Change

Oct 29 •

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During the last Biannale of Architecture 08 in Venice,  Enric Ruiz-Geli and Jeremy Rifkin promoted this manifesto: Revolutionizing Architecture to Address the Global Energy Crisis and Climate Change.

We, the architects of the world, recognize that the increase in energy costs is leading to a slow down in the global economy and creating hardships for families everywhere;

We further recognize that the dramatic rise in carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels is raising the earth’s temperature and threatening an unprecedented change in the chemistry of the plant and global climate, with ominous consequences for the future of human civilization and the ecosystems of the earth;

We further recognize that buildings are the leading consumer of energy and the major contributor to human induced global warming, consuming 30 to 40 percent of all the energy produced and contributing equal percentages of all CO2 emissions;

We further recognize that the world community needs a powerful new economic narrative that will push the discussion and agenda around the global energy crisis and climate change from fear to hope and from economic constraints to economic possibilities;

We further recognize that new technological breakthroughs make it possible, for the first time, to reconfigure existing buildings and design and construct new buildings that create all of their own energy from locally available renewable energy sources, allowing us to re-conceptualize building as “power plants;”

We further recognize that the same design principles and smart technologies that made possible the internet, and vast “distributed” global communication networks, are just beginning to be used to reconfigure the world’s power grids so that people can produce renewable energy with their buildings and share it peer to peer across regions and continents, just like they now produce and share information, creating a new, decentralized form of energy use;

We further recognize that re-conceptualizing buildings as power plants and transforming the world’s power grids into intelligent utility networks to distribute that power will open the door to a Third Industrial Revolution that should have as powerful an economic multiplier effect in the 21st Century as the first and second Industrial Revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Therefore

Be it resolved that we are committed to a revolutionary new concept of architecture in which homes, offices, shopping malls, factories, industrial and technology parks, will be renovated or constructed to serve as both power plants and habitats;

Be it resolved that these buildings will collect and generate energy locally from the sun, wind, garbage, agricultural and forestry waste, hydro and geothermal, ocean waves and tides—enough energy to provide for their own power needs as well as surplus energy that can be shared;

Be it resolved that we will collaborate with the chemical and engineering industries to develop methods- including hydrogen, flow batteries, pump storage, etc.- that allow intermittent forms of renewable energy to be stored in order to assure twenty four seven continuous access to electricity;

Be it resolved that we will join with the power and utility industry and the information technology industry to transform the world’s power grids into smart intergrids that operate like the internet, so that business, public institutions, and home owners, who produce their own renewable forms of electricity in their buildings, can share surpluses peer-to-peer, across regions and continents;

Be it resolved that we will collaborate with the transportation and logistics industries to establish the appropriate interfaces so that buildings can provide renewable energy to power electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

We, therefore, call on our fellow architects around the world to join us in revolutionizing architecture, with the goal of empowering millions of people in their businesses, public institutions, and homes to produce their own clean and renewable energy and share their surpluses with others across intelligent utility networks and, by so doing, help usher in a Third Industrial Revolution and a new post-carbon era dedicated to the democratization of energy and sustainable economic development.

Jeremy Rifkin, Washington

Enric Ruiz Geli, Barcelona

Stefano Boeri, Roma

François Roche, Paris

Juan Herreros, Madrid

Julien De Smedt, JDS, Copenhagen

Kengo Kuma, Tokyo

Greg Lynn, Los Angeles

Winy Mass, MVDRV, Rotterdam

Luca Galofaro, IAN+, Rome

Brkle Ingels, BIG, Copenhagen

Atelier Wow Wow, Tokyo

Massimiliano Fuksas, Rome

Vicente Guallart, Barcelona-Valencia

James Corner, Field Operations, New York

Jose Luis Vallejo, Ecosistema Urbano, Madrid

NL Architects, Rotterdam

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