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Spotlight on the future of the global architecture industry

Chris Williamson, International Vice President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) – puts the spotlight on the future of the global architecture industry

Last month I took part in a seminar and I started my presentation with the classic image of Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11 on the surface of the moon. I was 12 at the time of the Apollo 11 mission and that single event made a lasting impression on me. There has to be a common political will of course and I still have JFK’s heroic 1961 speech. It is now 50 years since Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon’s surface and we have big challenges ahead regarding climate change. But I’m equally optimistic we will resolve them. 

Architects are vital to the climate change debate. Emissions from buildings account for 40% of total UK greenhouse gases, so this is one of the profession's biggest challenges. We need, however, the political nudge to ensure our clients move in the right direction and we can help. The RIBA in June passed a resolution to declare a climate change emergency across all aspects of the Institute including heating, travel, menus (less meat more plant based) and our advocacy to ensure  RIBA members act equally responsibly.


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