Build Better Now is a collaborative project co-owned by over 100 partner organisations from across the built environment sector, for which UKGBC is acting as a secretariat.
This coalition has come together to ensure that the sector’s key role in addressing the climate and ecological emergencies is brought to the forefront – in the run-up to, during and far beyond COP26.
The Virtual Pavilion aims to showcase the relationship between the built environment and climate change, both as a part of the problem and the solution. It will comprise an exhibition of global exemplar projects and places, within a bespoke virtual reality (VR) space, as well as a major series of events and downloadable content – to include keynotes, panel discussions and more.
On 11 November, the UN’s Climate Conference COP26 will feature a dedicated Built Environment Day as part of its official presidency programme.
Virtual pavilion for COP26 opened to the public, showcasing pioneering building projects and tackling global sustainability themes.
Build Better Now, a virtual reality online exhibition demonstrating the opportunities for tackling the Climate Emergency and limiting the environmental impact of the buildings and cities we inhabit, has opened to the public.
The virtual pavilion, designed by AECOM in collaboration with Install Archive, features a series of dome-shaped exhibition spaces amongst treetops and connected by walkways.
The exhibition showcases 17 exemplary sustainable built projects from around the world, selected from an international Open Call.
Build Better Now also features a new 3D installation and accompanying film conceived for COP26 by Make Architects.
The built environment has a central role to play in supporting the world’s transition to a net zero carbon economy. Globally, buildings consume over a third of energy produced, and are responsible for 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions.
Amongst the selected projects: Milan Innovation District, Milan, Italy, by Lendlease, Arexpo, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, E.ON, Carlo Ratti Associati, Mario Cucinella Architects, Piuarch | Photo credit: artist impression
Build Better Now acts as a global call for climate action and is supported by a coalition of over 100 partner organisations from the built environment industry.
“With COP26, the world is ready to tackle climate change and the built environment has a crucial part to play. We know why we must accelerate climate action and Build Better Now shows how we can get there. Everyone on the planet has a stake in our buildings and cities. I invite everyone to take inspiration from Build Better Now as a global showcase of pioneering solutions to climate change and hope that it supports the industry to create more sustainable buildings, places and cities of the future.” says Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at the UK Green Building Council
Alongside the exhibition, Build Better Now hosts an events series comprising a programme of tours and talks, keynotes, panel discussions and other downloadable content, to educate and inspire the built environment industry and public to act now to identify and deliver climate solutions at scale.
Following the Open Call, which was launched in June 2021, a rigorous and transparent selection process was undertaken to find projects for the exhibition. A judging panel comprising industry leaders from across the world, with insight into the complexities of built environment sustainability issues on a regional and local level, selected projects that are making an immediate positive impact on the planet and people’s lives.
The international judging panel for the COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion included: Dr. Anna Braune, Head of Research and Development, German Sustainable Building Council, Chris Brown, Executive Chair, igloo Regeneration, Tor Burrows, Executive Director – Sustainability & Innovation, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, Jorge Chapa, Head of Market Transformation, Green Building Council of Australia, Elizabeth Wangeci Chege, Vice Chair of World Green Building Council: Africa Regional Network, Christina Cheong, Green Buildings Lead, Global Green Growth Institute, Hastings Chikoko, Managing Director of Regions and Mayoral Engagement & Regional Director for Africa, C40, Felipe Faria, CEO, Green Building Council Brazil, Jane Findlay, President of the Landscape Institute and Director of Fira, Sunand Prasad, Principal, Penoyre & Prasad, Sue Riddlestone OBE, CEO and Co-Founder, Bioregional, Diba Salam, Founder and Creative Director, Studio DS London, Amanda Sturgeon, Regenerative Design Lead, Mott MacDonald, Peter Templeton, President and CEO of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and Wei Yang, President, Royal Town Planning Institute.
The selected sustainable buildings are both scalable and replicable – giving the potential to deliver far-reaching impacts. Exploring themes such as natural resource use, climate mitigation and adaptation and nature and biodiversity, Build Better Now will showcase some of the most innovative solutions from across the globe.
Amongst the selected projects: TECLA, Massa Lombarda, Italy, by Mario Cucinella Architects, SOS – School of Sustainability, WASP – World’s Advanced Saving Project | Photo credit: Iago Corazza
Make Architects was selected to design a sustainability focused 360° installation and accompanying film that acts as a centrepiece within the pavilion. ‘The Fountain of Circular Recovery’ highlights opportunities for recovery, reuse and recycling in the built environment to establish a truly circular economy.
Pioneering projects include a cultural centre in Sweden that will be one of the world’s tallest timber buildings; the largest Certified Passivhaus building in the Southern hemisphere in Australia; a 100-hectare innovation district in Italy digitally mapped and powered by 100% renewable energy sources; and the largest new build energy-positive office building in Norway, which supplies surplus renewable energy to neighbouring buildings as well as powering electric buses.
Amongst the selected projects: Sara Cultural Centre, Skellefteå, Sweden, by Skellefteå Municipality, HENT AS, White Arkitekter, Florian Kosche, TK Botnia, WSP, Incoord, Martinssons AB, Derome | Photo credit: Patrick Degerman
Buildings constructed using natural local materials range from a UK university building utilising thatch and reed; a school in Indonesia built with bamboo and the first 3D-printed sustainable homes made entirely from raw clay – perfectly balancing ultra-modern construction techniques with historic, traditional materials.
Projects protecting and enhancing nature include a government-led eco-tourism initiative to restore a national park in Rwanda and a high-tech rewilding project, restoring native forest and peatlands and reintroducing locally extinct species to 100 acres of land in the Scottish Highlands, which will form a template for similar nature regeneration globally.
Amongst the selected projects: Powerhouse Brattørkaia, Trondheim, Norway, by ENTRA ASA, Snøhetta, AsplanViak, ZERO, Skanska Norway | Photo credit: Ivar Kvaal
As well as government-funded research into retrofitting Scotland’s iconic but hard-to-heat tenement homes, the exhibition features a favela in Brazil and affordable sustainable housing solutions in the UK, New Zealand and Pakistan.
Also included are an adaptable cross laminated timber bridge concept designed for a circular economy, as well as an initiative to develop a sustainable mass timber building market building in East Africa.
Amongst the selected projects: Monash Woodside Building for Technology and Design, Melbourne, Australia, by Grimshaw, Aurecon, ASPECT Studios, BSGM, Minesco, Root Projects, Six Ideas, Bollinger Grohman | Photo credit: Michael Kai
The projects selected for Build Better Now at the COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion are:
- The Fountain of Circular Recovery (central installation) by Make Architects
- Bridges of Laminated Timber (BoLT), Amsterdam, Netherlands, by Arup, Schaffitzel, Heijmans
- The 5 Systems Programme: Nga Kāinga Anamata, Auckland, New Zealand, by Kainga Ora, Context Architects, Resilio Studio, Robert Bird Group, Holmes Fires, Aurecon, Ortus International, BRANZ
- Heart of School, Green School Bali, Bali, Indonesia, by John Hardy, PT Bambu, Heru Wijayanto, Joerg Stamm, Gadjah Mada University
- Hope Rise, Bristol, England, by ZED PODS Ltd, Bristol City Council, Avie Consulting Ltd, Vale Consulting Ltd, Below Ground Ltd
- Favela da Paz, São Paulo, Brazil, by Favela da Paz Institute
- Pioneering a Mass Timber Market in East Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, by BuildX Studio, Gatsby Africa, AKT II, Arup, Timberliving SA, X-LAM, Autodesk Foundation, DOEN Foundation
- Milan Innovation District, Milan, Italy, by Lendlease, Arexpo, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, E.ON, Carlo Ratti Associati, Mario Cucinella Architects, Piuarch, Beema, LAND, MAD Architects, Obr, Arup, Deerns, Milan Ingegneria, J+S, Italian Department of Justice, PlusValue
- Modulus Homes, Karachi, Pakistan, by ModulusTech, Reall Limited, Open Door Design Studio, Trellis Housing Finance Limited, ConnectHear, Spaces PK
- Monash Woodside Building for Technology and Design, Melbourne, Australia, by Grimshaw, Aurecon, ASPECT Studios, BSGM, Minesco, Root Projects, Six Ideas, Bollinger Grohman
- The Natural Capital Laboratory, Scotland, by AECOM, University of Cumbria, Lifescape Project, NatureMetrics, Emilia and Roger Leese
- NCH2050 Homes, Nottingham, England, by Melius Homes, Nottingham City Council, Focus Consultants, Studio Partington, Energiesprong UK, Nottingham Trent University, Lincoln University
- 107 Niddrie Road, Glasgow, Scotland, by John Gilbert Architects, NBM Construction Cost Consultants, Design Engineering Workshop, Graham Drummond, WARM, CCG Construction, Glasgow University, University of Strathclyde
- Powerhouse Brattørkaia, Trondheim, Norway, by ENTRA ASA, Snøhetta, AsplanViak, ZERO, Skanska Norway
- Sara Cultural Centre, Skellefteå, Sweden, by Skellefteå Municipality, HENT AS, White Arkitekter, Florian Kosche, TK Botnia, WSP, Incoord, Martinssons AB, Derome
- Singita Volcanoes National Park, Ruhengeri, Rwanda, by Rwandan Development Board, Singita, Milton Group LLC, GAPP Architects SA, FBW Architects and Engineers Rwanda, TRPalmer, ASA Rwanda, Seyani Brothers, Grumeti construction TZ, Milton Group LLC, Bioregional UK, Earth Systems Africa, GAPP Architects SA, Ecolution Consulting SA
- TECLA, Massa Lombarda, Italy, by Mario Cucinella Architects, SOS – School of Sustainability, WASP – World’s Advanced Saving Project
- University of East Anglia Enterprise Centre, Norwich, England, by Architype, BDP, Morgan Sindall, Churchman Thornhill Finch)
“We are coming together for COP26 to spotlight the built environment as a solution to climate change. This is the most visible and coordinated the industry has ever been at a climate summit of this calibre. Build Better Now provides us with an opportunity to learn how sustainable building practices are having a positive impact on people’s lives. We must ensure that the world listens to the steps needed to create sustainable buildings, which means building and renovating with Whole Life Carbon principles, embracing a circular economy and creating people centric, healthy buildings that are resilient to the effects of climate change.” says Cristina Gamboa, CEO at World Green Building Council.
The COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion has been designed and developed by the Visualisation and VR team at AECOM in collaboration with exhibition designers Install Archive.
Build Better Now
COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion
1-12 November 2021