We are 10!

Magazine / May - Jun 2016

We are 10!

Ten years can feel like a lifetime. This is especially true in the evolving world of Green.

When we set ourselves an editorial direction in 2006—to be the voice of Green in Asia—the Green building was a newborn. Green assessment tools were spreading with evangelical fervour from one Asian capital to another. There was a feeling that if we just got this right, we would be OK.

But what constitutes deeper change? What are the signposts to sustainability? It should be said that we, the FuturArc editorial team, never accepted Green certification as the sole basis of Green. It was a good-to-have, yes, but it was incomplete. Instead of questioning real outcomes, we were celebrating technologies and their efficiencies.

From 2006 to 2008, the editorial team sifted through one certified project after another, sent by developers eager to headline their accomplishments. It was difficult explaining why we declined their hermetically sealed glass boxes that someone somewhere had conferred a Platinum halo.

Our approach then was largely intuitive but several principles guided us (and continue to do so). A project had first to be rooted in place. To break it down, this meant the adoption of passive design principles, the use of local materials, the participation of community, efficiency of systems and on-site sourcing of energy and water. In urban projects, with tighter constraints and more complex typologies, we asked that the development should, at least, be sensible. There was also the question of the space outside and in-between buildings, how buildings become good neighbours and citizens.

There was another, more contentious, criterion: beauty. A project must tell the story of where it is, of people and place. And when its form and organisation become part of that story, it has the power to move us. Green buildings often appeal to the mind; we were looking for ones that also spoke to the heart.

It is our job, we believe, to continue this conversation, to ask what sustainability means to Asia, to put a spotlight on the innovators and thought leaders. It should be said that no one project ever does it all. But many projects—in the face of constraints they face—ask important questions or postulate new solutions. We are here for them.

To our writers, correspondents, advisers, sponsors, partners and interviewees, a heartfelt thank you. To our readers, stick around. The next 10 years will be equally, if not more, compelling.

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