Last Updated on October 18, 2023

Uncovering 4 myths that might be holding you back.

Want to make a positive change in the built environment but feel unsure how to get started? It doesn’t matter whether you are working in the building industry, doing a home renovation, or just interested in sustainability – this article is for you!

What is the ‘building revolution’ ?

What is sustainable architecture?

Also known as: building turnaround, building transformation; or if you are a bit more flexible even buildshift 😉

For us, the “building revolution” encompasses all measures aimed at aligning the creation, utilization, and adaptation of built structures and spaces with both the planet and its inhabitants (remember that’s not just humans!). This signifies a comprehensive rethinking of actual needs, energy and material flows, design, and efforts toward the regeneration of natural and societal habitats. This change can only go hand in hand with a social and just redistribution of power and decision-making, along with a new approach to education and training.

Want to join the revolution, but still have cold feet?

Before delving into the possibilities, programs, networks, and resources, let’s address some common concerns that might be holding you back:

Ending up on this page shows you clearly have the drive to be part of the transformative movement that’s reshaping the building industry. However, you might still be unsure about how to dive in. Let’s address some common concerns that might be holding you back:

MYTH 1: Only professionals can make a difference

First and foremost, let’s clarify one thing: The building revolution extends far beyond architects with sustainability certificates or individuals who add solar panels to the roofs – they are important, but it is so much more. While having an educational background or experience related to sustainability or the built environment can be advantageous, it’s crucial to understand that it’s by no means an exclusion criterion.

What truly counts is the mindset! Embracing the building transformation is, to a large extent, an act of activism. It involves disrupting the status quo that strives for profit and enforcing an unjust system while ignoring the values of both people and resources. Our aim is to push for these alternatives to become a broad reality.

A white text on black background: There is no secret sauce in activism. It really is just a bunch of people who decided to show up. People with different skillsets trying to figure out how to use what they are good at to tilt us closer towards the world we need.

“Without substantially changing the way we shape and construct our buildings and spaces, environmental collapse is inevitable.”

So how could your role in the sustainable building turnaround look like?

Researching cost-effective retrofit strategies to conserve energy, breathing life into abandoned structures with thoughtful designs, ramming earth and stapling straw bales, or creating captivating campaigns, protesting against demolitions, developing circular construction software, pioneering innovative teaching methods, volunteering at an event, giving your space to underrepresented voices, creating graphics or websites to get the message out in the world, going into politics, maybe squatting a house or gluing yourself to the street…  the list goes on, with even more possibilities to explore.

MYTH 2: Without the proper experience, and contacts, you cannot achieve anything

It’s okay not to have an extensive network (or no network at all) before getting started. If you speak up for change, you *will* find your people! (and might surprise yourself by becoming an expert as you go along). And in the meantime, do not let people tell you that you have no right to do so, just because you are not a proven expert. You do not need to be an expert to see that something is going so obviously and vigorously wrong anymore.

Though if you are looking to join a community and find allies now, our database of sustainable architecture degrees and more or our collection of workshops, summer schools, and training sessions (our so-called “Beyonds”) could be a great starting point.

MYTH 3: Only sustainability superheroes have the right to advocate for change

Even if you’re currently employed in a conventional office, or have built a house with concrete, or whatever – you have every right to join the movement. Your desire to make a difference and drive positive change is what matters. It’s not hypocrisy – the fact that harmful approaches are the norm when it comes to shaping living environments is precisely what we criticize.

MYTH 4: When you become a part of a movement, your entire focus and dedication need to revolve around it.

There’s no need to place undue pressure on yourself for transforming the shift towards sustainable architecture & co into an immediate full-fledged or income-generating endeavor and completely overhauling your professional and personal life in an instant (even if you’re inclined to). If you only have an hour/ a few hours per month to spare for these missions, it’s a start! Time spent is not time wasted – no matter how little – and is key to creating momentum.

Participating in the movement is likely to give back two-fold in terms of personal fulfillment, meaningful connections, and overall well being. Just be open about your capacities and communicate them clearly.

And now, you!

While it might still be a lot to take in, if you keep all of these considerations in view, take a moment to ponder: Why do you genuinely desire to be a part of this transformative movement? What fuels your motivation, and what inspiring vision of an enhanced built environment is taking shape in your mind? Additionally – and maybe  even more importantly – what aspects of today’s practices truly ignite your frustration? Grant yourself the liberty to explore these questions and allow yourself the necessary time to unravel your thoughts. Remember, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and embracing the time to unearth your unique path — one that harmonizes with your passions, aptitudes, skills, and way of life — will not only amplify your impact but also makes the entire process more enjoyable! 

Changing the building sector can be a beautiful and painful, ever-evolving journey. So let’s embrace this multifaceted, dynamic realm, and get ready to shake things up!

Yeah. Let’s go!

Activists from architects4future protesting at the global climate change. Definition Bauwende.
Architects4Future at the Global Climate Strike (source:

Sources Slideshow: 2nd Picture: @criticalconcrete, 4th Picture @bertavicentesalas

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