Virtual Exhibition Features Sustainable Projects From Around The World

Build Better Now, a virtual reality online exhibition, showcases urgent role buildings and cities can play as a solution to climate crisis.

Following an international open call, 17 sustainable projects and a centerpiece installation have been selected to feature in Build Better Now, an online exhibition at the Built Environment Virtual Pavilion at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. The free exhibition, to be hosted online from October 31 to November 12, 2021, will demonstrate opportunities for tackling the climate crisis and limiting the environmental impact of buildings and cities.

Build Better Now acts as a global call for climate action and is supported by a coalition of over 100 partner organizations from the built environment industry, which plays a central role in supporting the world’s transition to a net zero carbon economy. Globally, buildings consume over a third of energy produced, and are responsible for 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions.

“With COP26 in November, the world is ready to tackle climate change and the built environment has a crucial part to play,” said Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at the UK Green Building Council. “We know why we must accelerate climate action and Build Better Now shows how we can get there. Everyone on the planet has a stake in our buildings and cities. I invite everyone to take inspiration from Build Better Now as a global showcase of pioneering solutions to climate change and hope that it supports the industry to create more sustainable buildings, places and cities of the future.”

Launched in June 2021, a rigorous and transparent selection process was undertaken to find projects for the exhibition. A panel of industry leaders from around the world, with insight into the complexities of built environment sustainability issues on a regional and local level, selected projects that are making an immediate positive impact on the planet and people’s lives. These projects are both scalable and replicable, with the potential to deliver far-reaching impacts.

Make Architects has designed a sustainability focused 360° installation that will act as a centerpiece within the exhibition. “The Fountain of Circular Recovery” highlights opportunities for recovery, reuse, and recycling in the built environment to establish a truly circular economy.

Pioneering projects include a cultural center in Sweden that will be one of the world’s tallest timber buildings; the largest Certified Passivhaus building in the Southern hemisphere in Australia; a 100-hectare innovation district in Italy digitally mapped and powered by 100% renewable energy sources; and the largest new build energy-positive office building in Norway, which supplies surplus renewable energy to neighboring buildings as well as powering electric buses.

Buildings constructed using natural local materials range from a UK university building utilizing thatch and reed; a school in Indonesia built with bamboo, and the first 3D-printed sustainable homes made entirely from raw clay – perfectly balancing ultra-modern construction techniques with historic, traditional materials.

COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion Judging Panel

  • Dr. Anna Braune, Head of Research and Development, German Sustainable Building Council
  • Chris Brown, Executive Chair, igloo Regeneration
  • Tor Burrows, Executive Director – Sustainability & Innovation, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland
  • Jorge Chapa, Head of Market Transformation, Green Building Council of Australia
  • Elizabeth Wangeci Chege, Vice Chair of World Green Building Council: Africa Regional Network
  • Christina Cheong, Green Buildings Lead, Global Green Growth Institute
  • Hastings Chikoko, Managing Director of Regions and Mayoral Engagement & Regional Director for Africa, C40
  • Felipe Faria, CEO, Green Building Council Brazil
  • Jane Findlay, President of the Landscape Institute and Director of Fira
  • Sunand Prasad, Principal, Penoyre & Prasad
  • Sue Riddlestone OBE, CEO and Co-Founder, Bioregional
  • Diba Salam, Founder and Creative Director, Studio DS London
  • Amanda Sturgeon, Regenerative Design Lead, Mott MacDonald
  • Wei Yang, President, Royal Town Planning Institute

Projects protecting and enhancing nature include a government-led eco-tourism initiative to restore a national park in Rwanda, and a high-tech rewilding project, restoring native forest and peatlands and reintroducing locally extinct species to 100 acres of land in the Scottish Highlands, which will form a template for similar nature regeneration globally.

In addition to government-funded research into retrofitting Scotland’s iconic but hard-to-heat tenement homes, the exhibition features a favela in Brazil and affordable sustainable housing solutions in the UK, New Zealand, and Pakistan. Also included are an adaptable cross laminated timber bridge concept designed for a circular economy, as well as an initiative to develop a sustainable mass timber building market building in East Africa.

The COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion has been designed and developed by the Visualisation and VR team at AECOM in collaboration with exhibition designers Install Archive.

The projects selected for Build Better Now at the COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion are:

  • The Fountain of Circular Recovery (central installation) by Make Architects
  • Bridges of Laminated Timber (BoLT), Amsterdam, Netherlands, by Arup, Schaffitzel, Heijmans
  • The 5 Systems Programme: Nga Kāinga Anamata, Auckland, New Zealand, by Kainga Ora, Context Architects, Resilio Studio, Robert Bird Group, Holmes Fires, Aurecon, Ortus International, BRANZ
  • Heart of School, Green School Bali, Bali, Indonesia, by John Hardy, PT Bambu, Heru Wijayanto, Joerg Stamm, Gadjah Mada University
  • Hope Rise, Bristol, England, by ZED PODS Ltd, Bristol City Council, Avie Consulting Ltd, Vale Consulting Ltd, Below Ground Ltd
  • Favela da Paz, São Paulo, Brazil, by Favela da Paz Institute
  • Pioneering a Mass Timber Market in East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, by BuildX Studio, Gatsby Africa, AKT II, Arup, Timberliving SA, X-LAM, Autodesk Foundation, DOEN Foundation
  • Milan Innovation District, Milan, Italy, by Lendlease, Arexpo, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, E.ON, Carlo Ratti, Mario Cucinella Architects, Piuarch, Beema, LAND, MAD Architects, Obr, Arup, Deerns, Milan Ingegneria, J+S, Italian Department of Justice, PlusValue
  • Modulus Homes, Karachi, Pakistan, by ModulusTech, Reall Limited, Open Door Design Studio, Trellis Housing Finance Limited, ConnectHear, Spaces PK
  • Monash Woodside Building for Technology and Design, Melbourne, Australia, by Grimshaw, Aurecon, ASPECT Studios, BSGM, Minesco, Root Projects, Six Ideas, Bollinger Grohman
  • The Natural Capital Laboratory, Scotland, by AECOM, University of Cumbria, Lifescape Project, NatureMetrics
  • NCH2050 Homes, Nottingham, England, by Melius Homes, Nottingham City Council, Focus Consultants, Studio Partington, Energiesprong UK, Nottingham Trent University, Lincoln University
  • 107 Niddrie Road, Glasgow, Scotland, by John Gilbert Architects, NBM Construction Cost Consultants, Design Engineering Workshop, Graham Drummond, WARM, CCG Construction, Glasgow University, University of Strathclyde
  • Powerhouse Brattørkaia, Trondheim, Norway, by ENTRA ASA, Snøhetta, AsplanViak, ZERO, Skanska Norway
  • Sara Cultural Centre, Skellefteå, Sweden, by Skellefteå Municipality, HENT AS, White Arkitekter, Florian Kosche, TK Botnia, WSP, Incoord, Martinssons AB, Derome
  • Singita Volcanoes National Park, Ruhengeri, Rwanda, by Rwandan Development Board, Singita, Milton Group LLC, GAPP Architects SA, FBW Architects and Engineers Rwanda, TRPalmer, ASA Rwanda, Seyani Brothers, Grumeti construction TZ, Milton Group LLC, Bioregional UK, Earth Systems Africa, GAPP Architects SA, Ecolution Consulting SA
  • TECLA, Massa Lombarda, Italy, by Mario Cucinella Architects, School of Sustainability Bologna
  • University of East Anglia Enterprise Centre, Norwich, England, by Architype, BDP, Morgan Sindall, Churchman Thornhill Finch

sustainable built environment
Heart of School, Green School Bali, Bali, Indonesia

sustainable built environment
Powerhouse Brattørkaia, Trondheim, Norway

Monash Woodside Building for Technology and Design, Melbourne, Australia

sustainable built environment
Sara Cultural Centre, Skellefteå, Sweden

The Natural Capital Laboratory, Scotland
The Natural Capital Laboratory, Scotland

sustainable built environment
TECLA, Massa Lombarda, Italy

In addition to the exhibition, Build Better Now will host tours and talks, keynotes, panel discussions and other downloadable content, to educate and inspire the built environment industry and public to act now to identify and deliver climate solutions at scale. For the first time ever, in recognition of the importance of the built environment sector in tackling climate change, COP26 will feature a dedicated Built Environment Day.

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