Architecture for the Anthropocene: How to build for a better future?

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We have entered the Anthropocene in which humanity is shaking the delicate balance of the Earth. Anthropogenic environmental impacts—especially in the form of climate change—have become an existential crisis for the entire planet. Half of global raw materials are used for construction, and a third of green-house gas emissions are produced by the built environment. Without a radi-cal shift towards a circular economy, our chances for meeting the emission budgets proposed by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for scenarios in which global warming is limited by either 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius are not good. This brings architects and architecture to the forefront of mitigating the overconsumption of planetary resources and environmental pollution.As a response to the environmental, social, and economic turbulence of the Anthropocene, three practical suggestions are made for the design of buildings: 1) decoupling of functional quality and environmental impacts, 2) simplification of buildings, and 3) strengthening the cultural resilience through architecture.In this article, the background and drivers for the environmental and social changes associated with the Anthropocene are presented. Then, possible mitigation and adaptation strategies are discussed using the building norms and architectural policies of the Nordic countries as an example. Finally, architecture for the Anthropocene will be presented, along with argumenta-tion for why the three suggestions are essential for future architecture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBuilt environment and architecture as a resource
PublisherNordic Academic Press of Architectural Research
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic) 978-91-983797-4-7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2020
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventNAF/NAAR Symposium - Seinäjoki, Finland
Duration: 31 May 20181 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameThe NAAR Proceedings Series
PublisherNordic Academic Press of Architectural Research
ISSN (Electronic)2535-4523


ConferenceNAF/NAAR Symposium
Internet address


  • architecture
  • anthropocene
  • Climate Change
  • Resilience
  • decoupling


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