Royal Institute of British Architects, RIBA, Climate emergency, Climate change, Responsible architecture

RIBA declares state of climate emergency urging architects to standardise sustainable practices

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced a five-year plan of action for climate change after declaring a state of climate emergency.

“The climate emergency is the biggest challenge facing our planet and our profession,” said RIBA president Ben Derbyshire.

"But to have a significant impact we need to do more than make symbolic statements – we need to turn warm words into impactful actions."

According to Dezeen, the five year plan aims to standardise sustainable practices within the architecture industry in Britain by improving government policies through lobbying while reducing the organisation’s own carbon footprint.

RIBA has also pledged to support the UK government’s drive to make the country carbon neutral by 2050.

Derbyshire added: “We architects need to transform the way we practice and along with our fellow professionals around the world, make changes that will impact at a global level.”

A number of international architecture firms have already declared a climate and biodiversity emergency, including Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, and David Chipperfield Architects; alongside Amanda Levete's firm AL_A, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and Alison Brooks Architects.

The aforementioned architecture firms have called on others to follow suit and join their campaign group called Architects Declare, encouraging clients to commission more sustainable buildings.

This year the United Nations warned that humanity has just 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or risk catastrophic effects on climate. 

Many architects across the Middle East have also expressed a sense of urgency in creating responsible architecture. 

"The city of Dubai has now matured to a stage where architects should demonstrate their sense of responsibility to produce responsible architecture, notwithstanding the absence of the governance of a local professional body," said Samir Serope Daoud, chairman and principal design architect at Diar Consult.

Dubai's AESG has also joinsed World GBC's Paris Agreement to drive net zero carbon buildings.