Our expertise, experience and enthusiasm extend across our offices in the UK, Germany and China. We have asked some of our team members in Germany about their work, their priorities as architects and their Chetwoods experience, as well as their thoughts about today’s key challenges and opportunities for the architectural profession in Germany.
We talked to our colleague Beatriz Campos in Germany.
How is the construction sector tackling sustainability?
I feel that the subject of sustainability in the built environment is finally getting the attention it deserves, thanks to passionate campaigners – including people like my UK-based colleague Philippa Birch-Wood, who leads our Thrive team at Chetwoods.
Philippa has won a number of awards, including 2023 Net Zero Champion of the Year at the BEN Procurement Awards, for her advocacy and advances in research across the construction industry into more sustainable materials, supply chains, construction processes and completed buildings in use.
I myself am inspired by people like Philippa, other Chetwoods colleagues and those leading within the wider industry, to constantly develop and maintain my own awareness and understanding of the many sustainability-related issues that I come across in relevant articles and through events and conferences.
What is your role as an architect in this challenge?
During my master’s studies in Resource Efficiency in Architecture and Planning, I was made aware of the significant responsibility of architects in the area of sustainability. The rising concern about sustainability in the construction sector led to the recent EU Taxonomy which determines which conditions key construction activities will need to meet in order to be considered as sustainable and be eligible for sustainable investment. I think this will propel sustainable design to go the extra mile, with just solar panels rarely enough.
Circular economy principles can also play a significant role. A design that applies circular economy principles will change attitudes toward building materials, building services, and maintenance services – this is something we are exploring in detail at Chetwoods on live projects.
Since I’ve been working at Chetwoods, our Thrive team has inspired and guided me to deepen my knowledge of sustainable architecture. We share our knowledge of the best materials to specify across our industry with our peers and clients via the Thrive team’s Material Matters Workshops, which focus on embodied carbon as well as considering health, wellbeing and circularity. With Chetwoods’ recognised track-record of experience and expertise in this area we actively support our clients in Germany to achieve challenging new sustainability targets.
How important is collaboration in your work?
I’ve collaborated with colleagues based in the UK and internationally on the design of projects in Germany. Working with such a diverse team enables us to find unique and innovative solutions, learn from different perspectives, and approach a project in new ways.
I have also had the opportunity to take part in projects outside Germany, for example in Denmark. Through research and collaboration with experts in this part of the world, I’ve come to understand and appreciate other cultures and their approach and ways of working with regard to architecture.
Why did you decide to become an architect?
With my mother being an architect and my father a civil engineer, I was exposed to the design and construction world from a young age. It always fascinated me to see my mother working on blueprints and developing designs that would later be built.
What is the biggest challenge facing the architectural sector in Germany today?
The architecture sector in Germany has been challenged recently by many external factors. High energy prices and issues with increased costs and scarcity of building materials, together with the uncertain global economic situation, have all created challenges. The wider construction industry is working to overcome these and as architects we are collaborating closely with our clients to help them review their developments and create solutions and opportunities for sustainable and socially and economically viable buildings.
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