Michelle Addington: Sustainability reset



As we accelerate ever faster to climate change’s warming limit of 2° C, after having already passed the 400 ppm CO2 threshold a few years ago, we have not witnessed a meaningful reduction in the energy use of the building sector.

Michelle Addington, dean of The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, challenges the premise behind architecture’s approach to climate change through a critical re-examination of the limits, blind spots, and biases inherent in prevailing methods of evaluating energy consumption. She proposes alternate metrics and scales that address the energy “accounting problem” to provide a more realistic picture of how energy operates in our world today, and calls attention to how these mechanisms are intertwined with social and economic systems.

The talk is followed by a conversation between Addington and Amale Andraos, dean of The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University and principal of WORKac. Drawing from their perspectives as practitioners and educators, the two discuss the role of universities in orchestrating linkages between architects and policymakers, and the need to question and expand the boundaries of academic fields in order to encourage interdisciplinary action.

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