We are driven by the challenge of designing eco-responsive buildings and urban places that balance environmental, social, and cultural values with commercial acumen.
Current lifestyles damage the natural world's capacity to regulate climate, maintain biodiversity, and provide healthy air, water, food and cultural inspiration. Artificial intelligence offers glimpses of radically new economic relationships. Social systems embody racial and gender inequalities, with endemic loneliness and a pervasive sense of strange-danger now worsened through Covid-19.
For implementation, Eco-responsive design has to balance short term financial value with the plurality of longer term social and environmental values. To address this complexity in creative and cost effective ways, we embrace complex-systems thinking.
Achieving a balance of values
These interlinked challenges call for innovative multi-scale design responses - from individual buildings through to shaping neighborhoods and whole settlements - underpinned by a design approach that is responsive to human needs for livability, health, and wellbeing, whilst ensuring long-term support from our planet’s life-support systems: stable climate, biodiversity, fertile soils and protective ozone layer. We call this approach Eco-responsive design.
Addressing today’s challenges for tomorrow
Embracing a complex-systems approach
Eco-responsive design understands environments as complex systems embodying nested subsystems at multiple scales – water, green, public space, land uses, plots, buildings and information technology, each supported by utilities infrastructure – interacting across space and time, and experienced together as habitats for everyday life. Resilience is central to this approach; enabling design to address the needs of today whilst adapting to the futures we can foresee, and to others that cannot yet be imagined.
We are continually updating this approach, through the design of individual buildings, masterplans, exhibitions, teaching, advocacy and publications; shaping environments for living, working and playing.
This complex-systems approach helps to overcome the ever-present danger of experts in particular subsystems operating through inward-looking professional silos. This approach enables all the members of the design team to dovetail their areas of expertise, so that the whole is always seen as more than the sum of its parts.
Enabling cross-boundary working
We use a complex systems approach collaboratively, to create strategies of design and implementation at all scales from individual buildings through to masterplans and outdoor spaces, to support health and well-being today and for future generations.