And they are inspiring more and more people to think closely about the built environment.
More than 40 sustainability academics and professionals from across the EU recently attended a training school at The Storey in Lancaster to listen and learn from leading figures.
Among the schemes highlighted were the magnificent floating Brockholes Visitor Centre near Preston and a major project to built a new visitor centre at
Cuerden Valley Park out of straw, tyres and environmentally friendly materials.
Funded through the EU E-COST programme, the training school was part of a European wide sustainability network in the built environment .
RESTORE (REthinking Sustainability TOwards a Regenerative Economy) is an EU Cost Action that will advocate for a paradigm shift towards restorative sustainability for new and existing buildings across Europe.
RESTORE’s purpose is to bring about a shift in sustainability thinking within construction across Europe, based on Lancashire-based Martin Brown’s recently published RIBA book, FutuREstorative: Working Towards a New Sustainability.
The Training School explored climate change and the recognition (that) it is now happening far too fast – and that we need to face up to the need for different and increasingly radical solutions to the way we design and build.
During four days, local presenters and site visits to Lancashire projects demonstrated that whilst buildings are a major contributor to the problem, they can be an important and exciting contributor to climate change solutions.
Training School Director Martin Brown of environment consultants Fairsnape, set the scene , encouraging a different thinking that incorporated wellbeing and connections with nature in understanding sustainability
Martin said: “It is wrongly thought leading edge green buildings are only happening in the world’s capital cities, but as demonstrated through site visits, we have wonderfully green sustainability buildings in Lancashire, including the BREEAM Outstanding Brockholes in Preston and the Living Building Challenge Visitor Centre at Cuerdon Valley Park.”
Alison Watson based in Sabden emphasised the importance and power of sustainability eduction in secondary school and young people through work of Class of Your Own. From UCLan, Ann Vanner and Dr. Jenni Barrett, provided insights on sustainable heritage and landscaping through their work in encouraging sustainable solutions for construction.
Anne Parker, mindfulness coach from the Fylde, explained how mindfulness is increasingly used as a means of managing stress and mental health in construction an poor-health buildings.
Classroom sessions were wrapped up by discussions led by Paul Clarke, Pop Up Foundation based in Todmorden, exploring practices to reimagine the relationship we and our buildings have with nature.