Rethinking the role of buildings

Day 3 GSW new tower

The GSW Headquarters in Berlin was completed in 1999 and built to adapt to variations in climate. Characterized by its bright orange and red 22-storey office tower, the block uses natural lighting and ventilation and has no air conditioning system. Photo by Sharon Boddy.

This paper was originally published in 2010 as part of the Ontario Architects Association continuing education series. Researched and written by Sharon Boddy, with input from Doug Pollard, Woytek Kujawski and Fanis Grammenos of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Buildings can spark creativity, create a sense of community and add to the character of neighbourhoods and cities. Buildings — both new and existing/retrofitted — can also support communities by either directly contributing to the infrastructure requirements of their neighbours or by reducing their own demands and/or creating their own supply and treatment systems to create capacity in community energy and water treatment systems for others. They can also reduce wastage and its environmental and economic burdens by recapturing heat currently lost through inefficient mechanical systems, sewers, etc., and by using municipal waste, especially bio-waste, as a fuel source.

Read the full paper: Buildings_as_Infrastructure_2009_nov26_FINAL

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