We’ve signed on to the AIA Architecture & Design Materials Pledge, which commits us to a deliberate, mindful and holistic approach to choosing which materials and finishes we put into our projects.
These choices represent a huge part of what we do as architects and construction professionals. Finishes are what we see, smell, hear, touch and yes- in some ways, even taste- when we’re inside our buildings. The goal of the Pledge is to improve the building industry’s impact on the health of our planet and the people who live on it.
What does this mean? Well… take a moment and look around at the materials that surround you. Ask yourself-
- Have you ever wondered where the skin and bones of the building you see were made?
- Where did the materials that make the structure of the walls and roof come from?
- Where did the glass windows and wood doors get made? How far did they get shipped from factory to site?
- Where were the raw materials that make up what you see sourced, harvested or mined from? The paints and stains, or the plumbing fixtures and pipes, or the floors?
- Have you dealt with lead paint, or asbestos containing materials on old buildings?
- Do you remember stories of formaldehyde-laced drywall making people sick after Hurricane Katrina?
- Have you ever noticed that “freshly painted” smell and maybe sneezed or sniffled a bit afterwards?
- Have you ever seen dumpsters full of lumber scraps and packing materials shipped off a jobsite to go to a landfill somewhere?
- Have you seen pictures of strip or open-pit mining for raw materials? Have you thought about what’s it like doing that sort of work for a living and what impact it has on a local community?
- Have you ever seen photos of forests cleared out for lumber production and wondered what happens after the sawyers move on?
The Pledge focuses on five core goals that we endorse as designers and influencers of the built environment. By signing the pledge, we vow that our material choices will:
- Foster life, health and wellness by choosing materials that have eliminated hazardous substances in the finish product and the manufacturing process;
- Support social equity by championing companies that value human rights and create positive impacts on their workers, their supply chains, and in the communities where they operate;
- Improve the health of the ecosystem by preferring products that regenerate natural air, water and biological cycles through thoughtful supply chain management and restorative practices;
- Improve climate health by incorporating products that reduce carbon emissions and sequester, rather than release, carbon into the atmosphere.
- Support a circular economy whose activities focus on reuse, adaptability and resiliency at the local and global scales.
We’re proud to be among the first architecture offices in Connecticut to adopt this pledge and are committed to doing our part to push our industry forward.