The Role of the Architect in Sustainable Housing Transformation: Four Swedish Case Studies

Paula Femenías

Abstract


Sustainable housing renovation is often connected to broader transformation processes and a need of holistic approaches to deal with social, environmental and economic development. Architectural knowledge has been described as uniquely positioned to handle complex real-world problems by dealing with sustainability from a whole-systems perspective. In this paper, the role of the architect and the influence of architectural knowledge are explored in four cases of public housing renovation. The results show that most of the architects experience limited influence. The division of longer transformations into shorter projects under the direction of a series of architects rather than a single firm is a limiting factor, and public procurement another. Good experience is also reported from integrated design, suggesting that architects could play a productive role as educators of the design team. In order to fulfil that role, the architects might need to review their approach to sustainable renovation.

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