Our new Responsible Design Group: broadening our priorities as architects and designers

Nuestro nuevo Grupo de Diseño Responsable: ampliando nuestras prioridades como arquitectos y diseñadores

Chapman Taylor’s former Sustainability Group is being replaced by our new Responsible Design Group, the scope of which includes new areas beyond the environmental sustainability remit. Senior Architect and Responsible Design Group Lead Ben Aston talks to us about why the change was deemed necessary, what responsible design involves and how he envisages the Group’s role being implemented in the years to come.

Why have we created a Responsible Design Group to replace our Sustainability Group?

Chapman Taylor’s Sustainability Group had performed a vital purpose over the years, helping to bring about a much deeper awareness of sustainable practices in terms of both our designs and our internal systems and practices. The Group had been responsible for changing our approach to several aspects of our work as an architectural business, including producing guidance on sustainable design, issuing regular advice and updates and eliminating unnecessary waste (particularly plastics and paper).

However, in addition to environmental sustainability, most clients and funders are also looking for the longevity that social and economic success brings to their developments. Rather than these considerations being the afterthought, as they once were for many, we felt the need to reshape our priorities and create a dedicated group with a much broader scope to bring these concerns to the forefront of what we can offer.

Sustainability remains a crucial element of that, but it is really just one part of our much wider commitment to design responsibly – and “Responsible Design” covers several other aspects of what we do as architects.

Why now?

The UN released its Sustainable Development Goals in 2013 and the RIBA followed up on that initiative with its Sustainable Outcomes guidance in December 2019. Also in 2019, several architects combined to commit to tackling the climate emergency in the Architects Declare movement, with over 1,000 UK practices signed up (including Chapman Taylor) by summer 2020. These events form the backdrop to our decision to establish a more wide-ranging and comprehensive approach and the creation of our Responsible Design Group.

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 is not the reason for the change in emphasis but it has shown how interconnected we all are and the importance of the design of the environments in which we live, work and socialise, particularly in times such as the current pandemic.

What do you mean by “Responsible Design”?

What we want to do is to widen the definition of environmentally conscious design to include several important elements, not just environmental sustainability, and embed it in what we do on a daily basis.

The term “Responsible Design” includes the socio-economic implications of our work, covering areas such as designing for the physical and mental wellbeing of people who inhabit and use the spaces we create. We take account of the WELL® Building Standard and want to ensure that our definition of environmentally friendly design includes the way in which our designs can positively contribute to good physical and mental health, including within our own studios.

“Responsible Design” also includes ethical design, whether in terms of our employment practices, how we source materials, how we work on site or how our designs affect the people and areas around them.

Environmental sustainability, particularly features such as energy efficiency and carbon neutrality, will of course remain at the heart of our work. This may involve, for example, ensuring that we specify using recycled steelwork or recycled aggregate within concrete, which are very quick and easy wins! Chapman Taylor has a very proud record of innovating in this field, whether at MediaCityUK and its sustainable on-site energy generation or at our new office development, BOB.Düsseldorf Airport City, in collaboration with Aachen-based office developers BOB efficiency design AG, which will create one of the most energy-efficient office buildings in Germany.

We want to take a root-and-branch approach to our projects. Chapman Taylor is well known for its expertise in placemaking, which involves in-depth consideration of the socio-economic context and the effect of what we design on the people in both the immediate and wider areas. This means that we are already skilled in achieving many of the goals at the core of responsible design.

What is Chapman Taylor’s approach to responsible design and how will it be implemented?

The approach is summed up in our motto: “Designing for the wellbeing of people, places and the planet”. Our core values have always covered people and places, but it has become more and more urgent in recent years to also consider the planet because of the global warming crisis.

We want to ensure that, for example, the various elements that are required for responsible design are incorporated at the very start of every project. In the longer term, we will produce guides to assist our teams in embedding responsible design principles in every aspect of their work. We aim to simplify our environmental tick-sheets as part of our ISO 14001 accreditation to save time and to allow clients and the rest of the team to easily see what has been done.

Much of what we do will not change because we have made great advances in all of these areas over the years, but we want to keep learning and evolving so we think it is important that we take a holistic view of what constitutes responsible design and ensure that we have industry-leading expertise in every aspect of it.

As an example of the practical application of the kind of work the group will do, we have been liaising with our client for the Anchorage Gateway residential development in Salford, in relation to another residential site in Manchester where they want to develop an “energy-positive” apartment building. Our earlier gap analysis research into how to upgrade the performance of a high-rise building with a view to creating a development to Passivhaus standards of energy efficiency was one of the reasons we were asked to work on this scheme.

Our research and experience in relation to the sustainability of volumetric modular developments, including our Umbrellahaus® initiative, have attracted another client to ask us to work with them on developing a new sustainable modular construction system for residential developments to be used in a number of countries worldwide, including for areas of disaster relief

How can people get involved?

We need to engage more people across our international studios because there is a lot to learn and we would like to have knowledge leaders in all of those areas. We will also be appointing studio champions to promote the principles of responsible design as well as acting as the main points of contact within those studios.

It is important to us that this is not seen as an imposed, top-down initiative, but rather for it to be a process which engages and enthuses everyone at our studios and allows them to feel a sense of ownership of our progress.

This is a very exciting opportunity to become leaders in our field in relation to responsible design in all its forms and I think that, once we have engaged people and caught their imaginations, we will achieve great momentum and deliver some very positive changes in how we shape the world around us.

Chapman Taylor continúa fortaleciendo nuestro compromiso con el diseño sostenible y responsable con el medio ambiente. Para ello, hemos lanzado nuestro nuevo Grupo de Diseño Responsable, con una visión más amplia que incluye nuevas iniciativas más allá del ámbito de la sostenibilidad ambiental. El arquitecto y líder del Grupo de Diseño Responsable, Jonathan Harris, nos habla sobre por qué se consideró necesario el cambio, qué implica el diseño responsable y cómo ve el papel del Grupo que implica la colaboración entre todos los estudios de Chapman Taylor.

Why have we created a Responsible Design Group to replace our Sustainability Group?

Chapman Taylor’s Sustainability Group had performed a vital purpose over the years, helping to bring about a much deeper awareness of sustainable practices in terms of both our designs and our internal systems and practices. The Group had been responsible for changing our approach to several aspects of our work as an architectural business, including producing guidance on sustainable design, issuing regular advice and updates and eliminating unnecessary waste (particularly plastics and paper).

However, in addition to environmental sustainability, most clients and funders are also looking for the longevity that social and economic success brings to their developments. Rather than these considerations being the afterthought, as they once were for many, we felt the need to reshape our priorities and create a dedicated group with a much broader scope to bring these concerns to the forefront of what we can offer.

Sustainability remains a crucial element of that, but it is really just one part of our much wider commitment to design responsibly – and “Responsible Design” covers several other aspects of what we do as architects.

El Grupo de Sostenibilidad de Chapman Taylor ha desempeñado un papel importante durante los últimos 12 años ayudando a generar una conciencia mucho mayor de las prácticas sostenibles en términos tanto de nuestros diseños como de nuestros sistemas y prácticas internos. El grupo ha sido responsable de ayudar a cambiar y desarrollar nuestra comprensión y enfoque del diseño, proporcionando orientación práctica basada en la investigación sobre diseño sostenible, diseminando el conocimiento en la práctica y eliminando el desperdicio innecesario en nuestros estudios (particularmente plásticos y papel).

Sin embargo, además de la sostenibilidad ambiental, muchos desarrolladores, financiadores y partes interesadas también buscan la longevidad que el éxito social y económico aporta a sus desarrollos. En lugar de que estas consideraciones sean una idea tardía, como alguna vez lo fueron para muchos, sentimos la necesidad de remodelar nuestras prioridades y crear un grupo dedicado con un alcance mucho más amplio para llevar estas preocupaciones al frente de lo que podemos influir como empresa de diseño.

La sostenibilidad sigue siendo un elemento crucial de esto, pero en realidad es solo una parte de nuestro compromiso mucho más amplio de diseñar de manera responsable, y el “Diseño Responsable” cubre varios otros aspectos de lo que somos capaces de hacer como arquitectos.

Why now?

The UN released its Sustainable Development Goals in 2013 and the RIBA followed up on that initiative with its Sustainable Outcomes guidance in December 2019. Also in 2019, several architects combined to commit to tackling the climate emergency in the Architects Declare movement, with over 1,000 UK practices signed up (including Chapman Taylor) by summer 2020. These events form the backdrop to our decision to establish a more wide-ranging and comprehensive approach and the creation of our Responsible Design Group.

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 is not the reason for the change in emphasis but it has shown how interconnected we all are and the importance of the design of the environments in which we live, work and socialise, particularly in times such as the current pandemic.

¿Por qué ahora?

La ONU publicó sus Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible en 2013 y la RIBA dio seguimiento a esa iniciativa con su guía de Resultados Sostenibles en diciembre de 2019. También en 2019, varios arquitectos se combinaron para comprometerse a abordar la emergencia climática en el movimiento Architects Declare, con más de 1,000 UK prácticas inscritas (incluido Chapman Taylor) para el verano de 2020. Estos eventos forman el telón de fondo de nuestra decisión de establecer un enfoque más amplio e integral y la creación de nuestro Grupo de Diseño Responsable.

Si bien la actual pandemia de COVID-19 no es el motivo de nuestro cambio de énfasis, ha demostrado cuán interconectados estamos todos y la importancia que tiene en nuestras vidas el diseño de los entornos en los que vivimos, trabajamos y socializamos.

BOB.Düsseldorf Airport City aims to be the most environmentally sustainable office building in Germany

What do you mean by “Responsible Design”?

What we want to do is to widen the definition of environmentally conscious design to include several important elements, not just environmental sustainability, and embed it in what we do on a daily basis.

The term “Responsible Design” includes the socio-economic implications of our work, covering areas such as designing for the physical and mental wellbeing of people who inhabit and use the spaces we create. We take account of the WELL® Building Standard and want to ensure that our definition of environmentally friendly design includes the way in which our designs can positively contribute to good physical and mental health, including within our own studios.

“Responsible Design” also includes ethical design, whether in terms of our employment practices, how we source materials, how we work on site or how our designs affect the people and areas around them.

Environmental sustainability, particularly features such as energy efficiency and carbon neutrality, will of course remain at the heart of our work. This may involve, for example, ensuring that we specify using recycled steelwork or recycled aggregate within concrete, which are very quick and easy wins! Chapman Taylor has a very proud record of innovating in this field, whether at MediaCityUK and its sustainable on-site energy generation or at our new office development, BOB.Düsseldorf Airport City, in collaboration with Aachen-based office developers BOB efficiency design AG, which will create one of the most energy-efficient office buildings in Germany.

We want to take a root-and-branch approach to our projects. Chapman Taylor is well known for its expertise in placemaking, which involves in-depth consideration of the socio-economic context and the effect of what we design on the people in both the immediate and wider areas. This means that we are already skilled in achieving many of the goals at the core of responsible design.

¿A qué se refiere con "diseño responsable"?

Lo que pretendemos lograr es una definición mucho más amplia de diseño consciente del medio ambiente que incluya varios elementos importantes, no solo la sostenibilidad medioambiental, e integrar esto en lo que hacemos a diario.

El término “Diseño Responsable” incluye las implicaciones socioeconómicas de nuestro trabajo, abarcando áreas como el diseño para el bienestar físico y mental de las personas que habitan y utilizan los espacios que creamos. Trabajando, por ejemplo, con los principios establecidos de WELL® Building Standard, nuestra definición de diseño ecológico incluye comprender la forma en que nuestros diseños pueden contribuir positivamente a la buena salud física y mental, incluso dentro de nuestros propios estudios.

El “diseño responsable” también incluye el diseño ético, ya sea en términos de nuestras prácticas de empleo, cómo obtenemos materiales, cómo trabajamos en el lugar o cómo nuestros diseños afectan a las personas y las áreas que los rodean. La sostenibilidad medioambiental, en particular características como la eficiencia energética y la neutralidad de carbono, seguirán siendo el núcleo de nuestro trabajo. Esto puede implicar, por ejemplo, garantizar que especifiquemos el uso de estructuras de acero recicladas o agregado reciclado dentro del concreto, ¡que son ganancias muy rápidas y fáciles! Chapman Taylor tiene un historial muy orgulloso de innovar en este campo, ya sea en MediaCityUK y su generación de energía sostenible en el sitio o en nuestro nuevo desarrollo de oficinas, BOB.Düsseldorf Airport City, que creará uno de los edificios de oficinas con mayor eficiencia energética en Alemania, o la Zona de Innovación de Liangjiang Chongqing, que ha sido diseñada utilizando los principios de la ciudad esponja.

Chapman Taylor es bien conocido por su experiencia en la planificación maestra y la creación de lugares que implican una consideración en profundidad del contexto socioeconómico y el efecto de nuestros diseños en las personas que los experimentan tanto en las áreas inmediatas como en las más amplias. Esto significa que ya estamos capacitados para lograr muchos de los objetivos fundamentales del diseño responsable.

What is Chapman Taylor’s approach to responsible design and how will it be implemented?

The approach is summed up in our motto: “Designing for the wellbeing of people, places and the planet”. Our core values have always covered people and places, but it has become more and more urgent in recent years to also consider the planet because of the global warming crisis.

We want to ensure that, for example, the various elements that are required for responsible design are incorporated at the very start of every project. In the longer term, we will produce guides to assist our teams in embedding responsible design principles in every aspect of their work. We aim to simplify our environmental design toolkit as part of our ISO 14001 accreditation to save time and to allow clients and the rest of the team to easily see what has been done.

Much of what we do will not change because we have made great advances in all of these areas over the years, but we want to keep learning and evolving so we think it is important that we take a holistic view of what constitutes responsible design and ensure that we have industry-leading expertise in every aspect of it.

As an example of the practical application of the kind of work the group will do, we have been liaising with our client for the Anchorage Gateway residential development in Salford, in relation to another residential site in Manchester where they want to develop an “energy-positive” apartment building. Our earlier gap analysis research into how to upgrade the performance of a high-rise building with a view to creating a development to Passivhaus standards of energy efficiency was one of the reasons we were asked to work on this scheme.

Our research and experience in relation to the sustainability of volumetric modular developments, including our Umbrellahaus® initiative, have attracted another client to ask us to work with them on developing a new sustainable modular construction system for residential developments to be used in a number of countries worldwide, including for areas of disaster relief

¿Cuál es el enfoque de Chapman Taylor para el diseño responsable y cómo se implementará?

Nuestro enfoque se puede resumir en: “Diseñar para el bienestar de las personas, los lugares y el planeta”. Nuestros valores fundamentales siempre se han centrado en diseñar para personas y lugares pero es más importante que nunca que redoblemos nuestros esfuerzos para considerar el impacto del diseño en nuestro planeta para ayudar a mitigar la crisis del calentamiento global.

Queremos asegurarnos de que nuestros principios de diseño responsable estén integrados desde el principio de cada proyecto. Estamos produciendo una guía de diseño para ayudar a nuestros equipos a incorporar principios de diseño responsable en todo el proceso de diseño, con el objetivo de simplificar nuestro conjunto de herramientas de diseño ambiental ISO 14001 para ayudar a nuestros clientes y al equipo de diseño en general a comprender mejor estos problemas a menudo complejos.

Se trata en gran medida de una evolución de las prácticas y los principios de diseño que hemos desarrollado a lo largo de los años, pero con un énfasis añadido y un compromiso con el aprendizaje y la mejora continuos. Creemos que es importante tener una visión holística de lo que constituye el diseño responsable y asegurarnos de que integremos la experiencia líder en la industria en cada aspecto del mismo.

When complete Anchorage Gateway will be a “energy-positive” apartment building

How can people get involved?

We need to engage more people across our international studios because there is a lot to learn and we would like to have knowledge leaders in all of those areas. We will also be appointing studio champions to promote the principles of responsible design as well as acting as the main points of contact within those studios.

It is important to us that this is not seen as an imposed, top-down initiative, but rather for it to be a process which engages and enthuses everyone at our studios and allows them to feel a sense of ownership of our progress.

This is a very exciting opportunity to become leaders in our field in relation to responsible design in all its forms and I think that, once we have engaged people and caught their imaginations, we will achieve great momentum and deliver some very positive changes in how we shape the world around us.

¿Cómo se puede involucrar la gente?

Nos estamos comunicando aún más con los compañeros de los otros estudios internacionales porque hay mucho que aprender del trabajo de diseño que estamos realizando en todo el mundo. Nuestro objetivo es tener líderes del conocimiento para cubrir las ocho áreas centrales de nuestra estrategia de Diseño Responsable, cada una con el cometido de investigar, aprender y difundir el conocimiento a nuestros equipos. Hemos identificado campeones de estudio para comunicar y promover los principios del diseño responsable y proporcionar un punto de contacto principal dentro de cada uno de nuestros estudios.

Es importante para nosotros que esto no se vea como una iniciativa impuesta, de arriba hacia abajo, sino que sea una parte iterativa de nuestro proceso de diseño que involucre y entusiasme a nuestros equipos de estudio y permita a los diseñadores individuales tener un sentido de propiedad con la oportunidad de contribuir a nuestro progreso.

Esta es una oportunidad muy emocionante para ayudarnos a convertirnos en líderes en diseño, con la experiencia para diseñar de manera responsable en nuestros sectores principales. Creemos que, a medida que nos relacionamos con nuestros equipos y capturamos su imaginación y creatividad, lograremos un gran impulso y ofreceremos algunos cambios muy positivos en la forma en que damos forma al mundo que nos rodea.


Jonathan Harris (BA (Hons) Dip Arch)

副董事, 布里斯托

Jonathan Harris joined Chapman Taylor’s Bristol studio in 2016 as as an Associate Director.

He is a member of our Residential Team and responsible for leading a number of key mixed-use regeneration projects in the Bristol studio.

Previously based in London, Jonathan has design experience working across a number of sectors including residential, education and commercial offices. 

Areas of expertise:

Residential / Offices / Masterplanning

相关项目

All Projects
caret-down-skewed caret-down-thin caret-down caret-left-thick caret-left-white caret-left caret-right-thick caret-right-white caret-right caret-up chinese cross download english facebook grid instagram linked-in list mail map pinterest play-button reset search-nobg search-square share twitter views wechat youtube