Including Sustainability Criteria in Architectural Completion: A Critical Case Study of Current Practices


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The Architectural competition announcements in Austria, as well as in most other European countries, regularly mention sustainability as a fundamental factor for decision-making. The consideration of energy performance, environmental performance of materials (embodied energy, reuse or recycling potential, toxicity), natural ventilation, and daylight availability are typically mentioned in the list of project requirements. In this context, the present contribution considers three actual architectural competition cases. Thereby, we investigated the kinds and depth of sustainability-related criteria as included in the competition announcements (e.g., hard versus soft requirements, qualitative versus quantitative benchmarks) . Moreover, we explored the level to which competition entries actually responded to the sustainability-related competition criteria. Thus, the submission materials (project narratives, posters and simple calculations if existing) available to the jury were analysed in detail. Toward this end, two approaches were selected: A qualitative approach focused on the use of certain terminology within the documentation of the projects. The second approach took certain numeric indicators into consideration such as heating demand and OI3 Index (sustainability). In those cases where the indicator values were not submitted by the participants, they were calculated by the authors based on available documentation. The study implies the need for a reconsideration of the process of formulating architectural competitions and evaluating the related submissions. It appears that currently the sustainability-related requirements in competition documentations do not lead to entries, which provide sufficient information for accountable jury evaluation. Rather, alternative and/or additional comprehensive indicators of sustainability and ecological performance must be included in a clear and systematic fashion in architectural competition narratives.



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Edited by:

Miloš Kalousek, Martin Němeček and Lukáš Chuchma






K. Kiesel et al., "Including Sustainability Criteria in Architectural Completion: A Critical Case Study of Current Practices", Advanced Materials Research, Vol. 649, pp. 159-162, 2013

Online since:

January 2013




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