What does an ecologically sustainable future look like? How is the carbon neutral Finland in the year 2035? Architects Declare Finland launches its operations by challenging Finnish Architects to share their visualizations in a collective image bank.

The images at the bottom of this article aim to inspire the entire construction industry towards change. Ecological Sustainability is often seen as a series of tightening limitations. The idea behind the idea bank is to visualize that living and building ecologically sustainable will actually increase our quality of life. We need a positive vision that we can together aim towards.

The international Architects Declare petition, founded in May 2019, demands a paradigm shift in our behavior. The entire construction industry is called to action, in order to meet the needs of our society without violating the earth’s ecological boundaries. The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most severe long-term issue of our time. Buildings and construction play a significant part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions whilst also having a substantial impact on our natural habitats.

More than thirty Architects submitted their visions during August, out of which a selection is published below . Defining what ecological sustainability is not easy nor straightforward. Individual offices are presenting their visions in order to start discussion. Architects Declare Finland take the first stand but challenge the whole construction sector to do the same. Let’s create a shared vision for a sustainable future and decide the steps needed to reach that goal.

Link to Architects Declare Finland declaration (in Finnish):   http://en.architectsdeclare.com/

Link to Architects Declare Finland on Facebook (in Finnish) : https://www.facebook.com/architectsdeclarefinland

Link to the global hub Construction Declares: https://www.constructiondeclares.com/

Twitter hashtags: #architectsdeclare #architectsdeclarefinland

Here’s a selection of the visions with maximum variety in themes and scales for creating a better built environment:

Kirkkojärvi storwater park by LOCI Landscape Architects: Kirkkojärvi stormwater park is designed to enable the flooding of the former lake and current river. The river has it’s space to expand. Pedestrian and leisure areas are located above the flooding. Resiliency is much more cost-effective than repairing damage caused by the growing amount of extreme weather conditions. By good design flooding can be seen as an opportunity instead of a Nuisance.

Route urban route by Sitowise:  Densify urban structure an free traffic areas for the use of pedestrians . In a competition proposal the old autobridge will be turned into a green pedestrian bridge instead of being taken down. New vegetation of the area decreases the impact of traffic, cleans air, reduces stormwater floods and supports urban biodiversity.

Carbon neutrality 2035 by L-Architects: We need an Evolution not a Revolution in order to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. For example our vision and roadmap for Hakunila, developed for the city of Vantaa, depicts a built environment that looks similar to current Neighborhoods but the innovation is, so to say, under the hood. We aim for long-term and flexible structural solutions, such as wood products and wooden frame solutions, that facilitate the recycling of buildings and reduce their carbon footprint. Service economy and circular economy are cornerstones of this new way of living, working, consuming, recycling and enjoying the community.

Ecological urban village by Tomi Jaskari and Tuomas Klaus: Future sub-urban Neighborhoods can be dense, but at the same time human in their scale. The proposal for the Vartiosaari planning competition is an urban plan for a new eco-efficient, human scaled and dense area along the new Tramway line. The compact footprint of the village saves the nature around and enables ecological and efficient solutions in the infrastructure of the area.

Concept for a post-agrarian city by M10: Circular economy solutions are combined together with housing, small-scale farming, opportunities for telecommuting, grocery shops, leisure activities as well as public spaces. The combination encourages for social and entrepreneurial activity. Homes are self-sustainable producing the consumed vegetables. Construction materials are recycled in the upscale station. Nearby restaurant provides local food and together with a shared sauna build into the historical landscape. New community and spaces create a strong identity for the area.

Wood pyramid by Ark Brut: The wooden pyramid consists of smaller fractal Pyramids ensuring a stable distribution of load to the structures Underneath. Fractal structure enables bringing light, fresh air and greenery to the core parts of the pyramid. The walls consist of Massive wooden CLT-elements. The structure enables a tramline run trough and houses a school as well as shared outdoor Terraces. There are 6000 modules, which vary in sizes from 30 to 60 square meters, and of which roughly half are suitable for living environments with natural light and views. Other modules host community-, service- and working spaces.

Solar Foods by Planetary Architecture: A design for a Solar Foods off grid factory concept that uses solar energy to Capture CO2 from thin air and cook it with Bacteria to create Solein – eatable protein. The facility is composed of a solar energy production field, CO2-capturing installations and the production facility. The round volume of the building is optimized spatially for both heating and cooling needs. The facades create a continuous solar reflector to keep the extra heat out in hotter climates. The roof windows allow indirect natural light in to minimize the need for artificial lighting.

Vision 2010 by Kaleidoscope: Buildings live in a symbiotic interaction with humans. The Evolution of AI and the development of materials and nanorobotics also represent positive possibilities for the humankind. Future buildings can provide a new type of protection: through sensor technology, they warn about pollution levels or let you know where your friends are hanging out. Buildings can define the boundaries between inside and outside: a facade can a raincoat, and buildings can regulate their energy consumption. Traffic no longer defines urban space as before: your entrance can be located on the 5 th floor. Nature strikes back and reclaims the Streets. Illustration by Vegard Aarset

Sustainable block house by Avarrus Architects: Built environment is created for future generations to come. Construction materials used in buildings today should still be in use after 100 years. This is enabled via Massive walls, natural materials and natural ventilation. The example for the building is set by 100-year old brick houses in the city as in the district of Töölö in Helsinki, which are considerably low in their energy use.

Wooden Metsä-Pavilion at the Tokyo Olympics by Helin & Co Architects: The emotional effects of wood on the human mind are different from other building materials. When reasonably processed, wood is an Authentic, live, local product of nature, which requires little energy. It is renewable, binds carbon dioxide and stores heat. Wood is easy to shape and repair. The wooden Metsä (forest in Finnish) Pavilion is to be built on the site of the Finnish Embassy in Tokyo. The building will continue to be used in the future. When the Pavilion is no longer needed, it can be disassembled, packed in containers and transported to the next destination.

Developing the use of rammed earth by Collaboratorio: In Finland, Collaboratorio is a pioneer in developing earth as a building material and we focus on the design of healthy buildings. Potentially being 100% recycled and 100% recyclable and having extremely low CO2 emissions in the production process, we believe that rammed earth structures either alone or combined for example with timber structures could drastically reduce the level of CO2 emissions of the building industry and improve building’s interior air health.

Massive logs by Bruno Erat: Definitions of sustainable built environment: a house produces it’s own energy and protects itself against elements of nature as rains, winds, overheating. A house creates biologically active space around itself as much as what has been lost by building the house. Gray energy contained by the house should be proportional to the Lifecycle of the building – one example to be given is the Lifecycle-house made out of Massive wood structures. A house should be flexible: easy to adjust to changing functions or the Lifecycle of the inhabitants. A house should not fight against nature .