13 September 2011 – Letter: I read with interest the argument occurring in the architectural ranks about whether sustainability requires separate reward. As a past employee of Tone Wheeler, perhaps I have been long educated on the merits of integrating sustainable thinking into all architectural decisions. I whole heartedly support his advocacy for sustainability AND beauty.
Aesthetics are a critical part of any building equation – I would go so far as to say that buildings that lack aesthetic appeal lack sustainability no matter how many stars they may have as they are more at risk of being refurbished, altered or demolished.
To be truly sustainable, buildings need to achieve the AND: green AND commercially viable AND functional AND uplifting to be in.
I also understand the concern that we are not however as mainstream as we think when it comes to sustainability and taking the prize away may take away the focus.
Would the committee consider having certain sustainable criteria included in every award category, explicitly? This may send the message very clearly that the AND matters.
[The category of sustainability will be removed, although a sustainability prize will still be awarded and all entries asked to respond to sustainability criteria – ed]