Publication date: 
2021/04/09
Rather than a statement, a question mark can be felt in the title. Just as architecture is a multi-layered discipline, a publication works with many ingredients. The authors leave the synthesis to the reader himself.

"We do not believe in straightforward solutions and clear answers. Being an architect and a teacher of architecture is a lifelong journey, "as the authors working at the Faculty of Architecture introduce themselves. It is the responsibility for the formation of future architects that leads them to two questions that they ask themselves in the book: What is sustainable architecture? How to teach sustainability in schools of architecture? 

They then approach the answers from several directions. As reviewer Petr Kratochvíl states: “The authors are based on the legitimate belief that sustainable architecture cannot be defined by several - only quantitative - parameters, but consists in the realization of a work that combines respect for environmental, social and economic requirements in creative aspects since the conceptual beginning, without resigning to the aesthetic side. "  

Unlike the search for a general definition of sustainability, the second question, looking for the ideal way to teach sustainability, is personal and concerns the authors' role as educators. "Our motivation was to develop a traditional model of studio teaching to better prepare students for the complexity of the architect's work and the challenges associated with sustainable architecture," they explain in the introduction.

Among other things, the experience from the Solar Decathlon competition in which they competed with the AIR House solar house as CTU team, inspired them to find the right teaching model. AIR House was the first so-called design-build project implemented at the Faculty of Architecture. In the book, the authors present this way of teaching, where students design and build a structure, as one of the ways that leads to the fact that sustainability ceases to be a theoretical concept on paper. At the end of the book, five projects under their guidance illustrate their method. 

Dalibor Hlaváček and Martin Čeňek make space for their colleagues as well. In this part of the book, they record how sustainability resonates between Czech and foreign architects, educators and theorists. Their answers to the questions of what sustainability means to them, how it manifests itself in their work and what importance it should have in the teaching of the profession, show the theme of the book in its true complexity. 

In the last chapter, the authors select design-build projects of various scales, which were created in their studio at the Faculty of Architecture of the Czech Technical University. They describe the process of creation, offer reflection and experience of students. In the projects, the previous text materializes repeated concepts into a concrete form of realized constructions. Whether they are shelters or a footbridge for the Krkonoše National Park, a mast to Libčice nad Vltavou or an AIR House for the Solar Decathlon, these are real structures that try to combine respect for environmental, social and economic requirements in a creative way from the first sketches. 

The book is published at a time when European Union launches the environmental, economic and cultural project New European Bauhaus. "The new European Bauhaus is a project of hope for a better life together after the pandemic. It is about aligning sustainability with style, bringing the ideas of the Green Agreement closer to the citizens and projecting these ideas into their lives, ”- the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hopes for the new Bauhaus to be equally dynamic as the Old Bauhaus 100 years ago. 

The new European Bauhaus is set to become a new European aesthetic combining good design with sustainability. On specialized websites, artists, designers, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, architects and students can share examples of inspiring solutions. Various organizations can become partners of the new European Bauhaus. "The Faculty of Architecture of the Czech Technical University should be among them. The ideas of the Bauhaus are close to us, we also realize that a hundred years later we have other possibilities and means. The academia should come up with new formulations, "comments Dalibor Hlaváček on the new European initiative. 

The book was graphically edited by the Side2 studio,  published by Zlatý řez in 2020. It can be purchased at the BioBooks.cz virtual bookstore.

https://www.biobooks.cz/architektura

Contact person: 
Name: 
ING. ARCH. KATEŘINA ROTTOVÁ, PH.D.
E-mail: 
KATERINA.ROTTOVA@FA.CVUT.CZ
Phone: 
778 750 052
Department: 
FAKULTA ARCHITEKTURY ČVUT V PRAZE