‘There’s No Vaccine For Climate Change’: Here’s What CRE Can Do To Help Save The Planet

In the wake of COVID-19, architects and their clients have all understandably been focused on air quality and cleanliness. But as massive as the pandemic has been in both scope and scale, it barely registers as a crisis when contrasted with climate change, experts say.

“It is a blip compared to the bigger issues of resiliency, sea-level rise and energy conservation,” said Bernardo Fort-Brescia, co-founder of the international architectural firm Arquitectonica, during an Oct. 16 Bisnow webinar on the future of development and design.

Fort-Brescia called upon architects, developers and government leaders to increasingly make that the driving force in all aspects of development. “There’s no vaccine for climate change,” he said.

Architects have been making headway on this front already.



Lawrence Kline, managing director of Perkins & Will in Miami, said that his team has been working on understanding the science of storms. That may help develop resilient building materials and design for hurricanes and 500-year floods, which are likely to become more frequent with climate change. The firm even has a research lab to study materials.

“We are designing buildings with computational design that acts to actually reduce wind pressures on the buildings … [and] specifying materials that are not off-gassing and materials that are renewable and sustainable,” Kline said.

He added that advances could be applicable across the spectrum of education, office and healthcare. “We’re looking at clients who are saying, ‘We want buildings that are flexible, that are agile, that are transformable,’ so that a corporate office today could be a multifamily residential tomorrow,” Kline said….

…Bernardo Fort Brescia, founder of international architectural firm Arquitectonica, said that his profession is well-suited to lead for the challenges that lie ahead.

“Architects automatically are optimists,” he said. “They are always thinking that the future is better, and we were educated to create a better future for society.”

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