Design ethics: rethinking the practice in 2021



Design ethics: rethinking the practice in 2021

Ethical practice covers all parts of architecture. From intersectionality and work to the climate crisis, a designer must work with a range of conditions and contexts that inform the built environment and the process of its creation. Across cultures, policies and climates, architecture is as much functional and aesthetic as it is political, social, economic and ecological. By addressing the ethics of practice, designers can reimagine the impact of the discipline and who it serves.

© Stijn Bollaert© Adli Wahid© Adaptive CO architecture© Anne Fougeron+ 13

© Stijn Bollaert
© Stijn Bollaert

As Ethan Tucker recently suggested, what if we start to think of ethical practice in the same way as sustainability? With this idea, we can delve into what Tucker invents “justice incarnate” across a range of issues. As part of our Year in Review, we take a look at the past few years on ArchDaily for articles that explore the many facets of ethical practice. With both observations and specific examples, the writings explore ethics through different authors, geographies and themes. As our editorial content covers four languages ​​and a global audience, the writings express different perspectives and material conditions.

© Suyin Chia
© Suyin Chia

The definition of fairness in dictionaries is the quality of giving equal treatment to everyone while recognizing the differences between individuals. In this sense, fairness means fairness in the way we act towards each person while keeping in mind their specific characteristics and needs. It should also be mentioned that the terms equity and equality are often used interchangeably but mean different things, mainly because equality is based on the principle of universal rights, in which all individuals are subject to the same. rules, no exceptions.

© Antonio Garcia
© Antonio Garcia

Since the Paris Agreement of 2015, climate change mitigation has become a common and global goal; However, the impacts of the climate crisis and the actions currently taken vary considerably across the world. Today, the most important cities are overtaking governments in tackling the climate crisis and promoting a green transition, but their actions are thwarted by inaction and increased carbon emissions elsewhere.

© Charlie Hui
© Charlie Hui

Led by architects Khensani de Klerk and Solange Mbanefo, Matri-Archi is a collective based between Switzerland and South Africa which aims to bring together African women for the development of space education in African cities. Through the practice of design, writing, podcasts and other initiatives, Matri-Archi focuses on the recognition and empowerment of women in the space field and the architectural industry.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Design stems from nuance, empathy and understanding. The best solutions meet the needs, identities and context of a client and a location. A designer’s response must be informed by these different realities. Intersectional Design is a method of designing by thinking about how identity factors (gender, race, sexuality, class, and many others) interact with each other. By understanding how these factors combine, we can better understand the context of use and the priorities of an individual user.

© The Hall of Architecture
© The Hall of Architecture

The first stages of the practice of architecture often come up against what many explain as “the slippery slope of being an architect”, where the expectations do not correspond at all to the reality of the profession and worsen over time. as the experience progresses. With constant burnouts from overtime and weekends to ‘get experience’, extraordinary expectations, low wages, and physical and mental strain, the prestige of being an architect has clearly faded along with the working conditions. modern.

© Hao Chen
© Hao Chen

The urban metropolises of our planet are full of stories. They are home to stories of wealth, innovation and architectural marvels. They are also home to stories of inequality, inequity, and urban divides – places where income determines the quality of the spatial environment around them. Within these stories has grown a growing incentive to make cities ‘smarter’, with the aim of using data and digital technology to build more efficient and convenient urban environments.

© Adaptive CO architecture
© Adaptive CO architecture

The concept of ‘decarbonization’ has been in vogue lately in political discourse and global environmental events, but it has not yet gained enough attention in architecture to profoundly change the way we design and let’s build the world of tomorrow. Buildings are currently responsible for 33% of global energy consumption and 39% of greenhouse gas emissions, indicating that architects must play an important role if we are to stop or reverse climate change.

© Nicolás Valence
© Nicolás Valence

A fair 4-cent increase for the Santiago metro sparked mass protests in Chile from October 6. Along with the spontaneous street protests, the protests turned into widespread violence across Santiago over the following days until October 18. That day, the metro network collapsed, riots spread across the city, and looting and fires got out of hand. This social discontent took the streets of Santiago by surprise, but it was quickly realized that the right increase was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

© Adli Wahid
© Adli Wahid

A growing number of theorists and practitioners are discussing the impact of gender and race on the profession and theory of architecture. Questions related to the relationship between the built environment, sexual orientation and gender identity, however, remain particularly under-studied, perhaps because of their relative invisibility and less clearly identifiable discriminatory consequences.

© Anne Fougeron
© Anne Fougeron

As Duo Dickinson explains, “fairness” is a moving target. “We who create architecture want our dedication to have a real forum of objective fairness. But motivations are not results.” He goes on to explain that the way we judge design inevitably carries the baggage of “Style” and this makes universal equity in the apprehension of design impossible. In turn, the way we react to everything, including the things that are designed, does not have the luxury of having universal fairness in the results.

This article is part of the ArchDaily topic: Year in Review. Each month, we explore a topic in depth through articles, interviews, news and projects. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily, we welcome contributions from our readers; if you would like to submit an article or a project to us, please contact us.



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