Book Review #1 – The Environmental Design Pocketbook (2nd Edition) by Sofie Pelsmakers

If you’re thinking of investing in just one book on sustainable building design I’d strongly recommend you buy The Environmental Design Pocketbook by Sofie Pelsmakers. The book is currently in its second edition, and should be essential reading for not only architects and architecture students but anyone else involved in the construction and operation of buildings.

The Environmental Design Pocketbook is a fantastic reference book which is well illustrated and easy to use. The research incorporated in this book make it an essential reference to both practicing architects and students concerned with the environmental impacts of building design.

At almost 500 pages, this edition continues to build on the already vast amount of data contained in the previous edition, bringing the book up to date on recent changes to both regulations and practices. It tackles topics from what can be achieved in the building industry to UK general policies, legislation, frameworks, tools and environmental assessments.

Throughout the book, it is well organised and boasts helpful illustrations to aid the details. At the end of a chapter there is a ‘key recommendations’ section which flags the points that require further thought; arrows are used to indicate points to cross references with other chapters or sections and finally, a spanner symbol relates to building maintenance and care.

Overall, The Environmental Design Pocketbook is a must have for anyone serious about sustainable design which is an important and growing topic within the architectural industry. I found this book to be extremely important to have on hand as it is packed with everything you need to know about how to design a green building in the UK. As a student I will find this book invaluable for helping me to embed sustainable strategies into my projects.

Price: £25

Women In Architecture #IWD2015

In light of International Women’s Day (March 8th 2015), I decided this was the perfect opportunity to show some gratitude to the women in architecture I admire most. 

Angela Brady – In 2000 Angela was a founder of RIBA’s ‘Architects for Change’ group, which campaigns for the greater involvement of women and ethnic minorities within the industry. Additionally, she was a chairperson for Women in Architecture from 2000-2005. This hard work eventually led to her being elected as RIBA president in 2011. Angela has also been awarded the lifetime achievement award from Women in Construction (2012) and the WISE women of outstanding achievement for leadership and inspiration (2013). I had the pleasure of seeing Angela at EcoBuild this year in which she was passionately talking about sustainability. She continuously strives for a fairer industry.

Alison Brookes – Alison has recently been named as one of Britain’s 500 most influential people. She boasts being the only UK architect to have won all three of the UK’s most prestigious architecture awards: the Manser Medal the Stephen Lawrence Prize and the Stirling Prize. In 2012, she won both Housing Architect of the Year and the Architect of the Year Gold Award. I also was lucky to attend ‘The BD Debate: Quality housing fit for 21st-century living – why can’t we get it right?’ debate in which, she spoke passionately about the housing crisis.

Sarah Wigglesworth – Sarah is an award-winning British architect and Professor of Architecture at Sheffield University. In 2012 she was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry, becoming the first ever woman to be awarded this prestigious title for architecture. Her firm is committed to exploring sustainable futures and creating spaces that have a positive affect on people.

There is no doubt in my mind that there are thousands of other fantastic women in the construction industry. However, architecture, as a profession, is not known for openly welcoming women into the industry. This struggle for integration surprisingly continues today. Despite approximately 40% of architecture graduates in the western world are women, no more than 12% are estimated to be practicing as licensed or registered architects.

Let’s drive out inequality and celebrate all our construction industry talent #SeeMeJoinMe #InternationalWomensDay

Further Reading:

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