Session 9


Upscaling Delivery of Climate Responsive Design

held on

Wednesday 19 August 2020 at 13:00 CAT, 12:00 BST, 11:00 UTC


The programme of events associated with a Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation in the Commonwealth was launched on Wednesday 24 June 2020 under the leadership of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Commonwealth Association of Architects, the Commonwealth Association of Planners, and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, with support from The Prince’s Foundation and the Rwandan Ministry of Infrastructure.

This event was co-hosted by INTBAU (the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism), and focused on local and traditional methods of designing and building from across the Commonwealth. Adapted to climate and context, these methods are naturally sustainable and low carbon, and can be easily adapted to meet 21st century needs. 

The session was co-chaired by Harriet Wennberg, INTBAU and Peter Clegg, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. The session included the following panellists: 

  • Yasmeen Lari, Architect and founder of the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan
  • Peter Rich, Architect, Light Earth Designs
  • Lauren Shevills, Architects Climate Action Network and Architects Declare
  • Inhee Chung, Global Green Growth Institute
  • Fatou Dieye, SKAT Consultancy

The event attracted over 242 attendees from 39 countries with circa 23 also watching the Vimeo livestream. Questions to the panel together with expressions of support came from variety of sources including Brenda Kiraboa, an architecture student from Uganda, Manalee Nanavati a young architect and researcher from Mumbai, and Samson Olanrewaju a member of the CAP Young Planners Network from Nigeria. The live recording of this session is available to watch by clicking on the image at the top of this webpage.

key messages

  • Climate-responsive architectural and urban design need to be delivered at scale, which means professional knowledge and capacity need to increase substantially, rapidly, and globally.
  • We need to redefine our architectural and engineering curricula to align with sustainable development goals and ensure greater integration between built environment professions. 
  • Sustainable development will only be delivered through working with local communities, using local and replenishable materials, and developing local construction skills.
  • The climate crisis requires supportive policy frameworks to work together with more, improved, and consistently updated environmental and construction standards that can deliver safe, resilient, and adaptable buildings. 
  • Architects will not achieve climate-responsive design on their own. Engineers, planners, policymakers, clients, and wider society all have roles to play. 
  • There is a great deal of appetite in the next generation of architects to work for the 99% and for the environment. Education and professional opportunity need to keep up. 
  • The Commonwealth encompasses a rich diversity of climates, materials, and techniques, which can learn from one another – particularly as local climates around the world are changing. 
  • The COVID crisis’ impact on the global economy and construction sector could provide an opportunity for design that is low-cost, easy to build, and adapted to climate and context: link to the Great Reset.
  • Key to upscaling delivery of climate responsive design is the upscaling of knowledge sharing through virtual platforms, exchange, and hands-on experience.


A copy of the compilation of slides used in the session can be found here.

further information

If you are interested in the issues raised in the programme and/or would like to become involved in a Call to Action, then please contact us at