How the world might not end

If you think green building is a niche topic, head down to Ecobuild. It’s not only one of the largest events in the UK, but the largest in the world focusing on sustainable construction and architecture. More than 50,000 people came to ExCeL in east London for Ecobuild 2011 ā€“ and when I was there, most of them were trying to fit into the conference hall where Brian Cox was speaking. But there were a great many other contributors over the three day programme, with a very diverse range of views and interests. I edited a blog on the Ecobuild site in the months leading up to the event, which meant I got to talk to them about all sorts of things including why climate talks fail, the truth about eco-cities in the desert and why Christmas houses might not be a total sustainability nightmare…

Concrete in the afterlife

Does any company preside over an uglier set of buildings than BT? Well, there’s now one less hideous eighties monolith to marvel at, with the complete refurbishment of the Angel Building in Islington. It’s almost unrecognisable with its glass and exposed concrete, and a new facade that restores the old line of the Georgian terraces. It’s also very sustainable, with a BREEAM “excellent” rating. Architect AHMM kept the project’s carbon footprint low by keeping the old concrete frame ā€“ which made it an ideal cover star for the Spring issue of Concrete Quarterly magazine, which I edit. You can read the latest issue here.