In times of climate crisis, which is caused by the unlimited growth of our needs, our production and consumption, we can no longer design things as we have done so far.
If we would like to talk about solutions that in the best possible way bring us closer to solving the problems of the climate crisis, then we should talk about a complete revolution in designing the entire material reality.
For the moment, let’s forget that there are many things that limit us: legal regulations, aesthetic issues, material standards requirements – whatever. We theorize about what we could do to limit the destructive effects of construction and production processes on the natural environment? What key design rules would we take into consideration then?
There are several key answers: first, we should limit our needs.
1. Build and produce only in ‚finality’ needed cases
We should build the smallest possible facilities with the maximum use of time of any space – multi-functional facilities such as offices that would be occupied at night, used as apartments.
If we are really not forced to build a new building, we should just refrain from doing so. If we are not forced to build our own house, we should look for a place where we can make better use of the already existing matter: perhaps we should move or renovate something old, existing, at minimal cost.
2. Design, build and produce only necessary.
Secondly, we should design only things that are necessary, only needed, and sufficient from the point of view of functions, safety and material savings for the natural environment. That is why we are talking about creating a new type of aesthetics: the aesthetics of total austerity, using only those means of expression that are necessary to create the structure, perform the assumed (but also minimal) function and thermal parameters of the building. The total severity of designed things would allow to significantly reduce the destructive effects on the natural environment.
3. Architectural details – totally strict
If we can design additional elements that do not require additional construction – they should be connected directly to the main structure of the building.
We should not use cornices, pilasters, shading elements, movable elevation elements, creating additional construction modules, weighing additional kilograms, constituting additions to what is only necessary. If functions such as shading are to be realized, they should be achieved by other means, obtained from the main structure of the building, such as e.g. the size of the windows.
We should give up the elements that „match the appearance”, and only raise the dimensions, scale of the facade, the building, just to make an impression. Spiers on high-rise buildings should also be included in this category – they are created only to break new height records globally, or even only locally.
4. Interior design – totally strict
And finally – we should give up interior design elements that are not necessary, or whose aesthetics do not directly result from design, functional and material requirements (e.g. fire protection). Interior finishes should fulfill the assumptions of the total minimum, with the maximum aesthetic effect of the basic architectural layer of the interior: walls, floors, ceilings. The less we use additional material in the interior, the better: the minimum amount of plaster, paint, materials, wood, plaster, plastics, conglomerates – the better.