Aesthetic and social sustainability
To achieve sustainability, people must be able to interact with buildings. Architecture should resonate with people – and they should enjoy it. By using robust and authentic building materials such as bricks and tiles – which have a lifecycle of at least 100 years – an architect can design sustainable houses and environments.
Respect for future generations is not just about economics and environmental impact. It also has a social element in terms of how we design houses in ways that are good for our well-being, and in terms of how the interior impacts on our health and well-being.
Scandinavian building facades are among the most exposed in the world, because we have long periods of rain and a lot of temperature changes around the freezing point. Many building materials are particularly vulnerable because moisture provides a good breeding ground for algae, mould, rot and fungus. However, there is minimal risk of bacterial growth on bricks, clay and mortar, and this therefore creates the best possible conditions for well-being.
Houses built using bricks and tiles are able to maintain a more even range of temperature than houses built of light materials such as wood and plaster. In practice, heavy materials achieve a more even indoor temperature, and are able to moderate the temperature effects of a hot summer’s day or a cold winter’s day. Architects have started to give more and more thought to this after a period of using industrialised lightweight structures.
Different wall structures differ in their ability to regulate humidity. Solid, dense structures, such as glass or wooden constructions with moisture barriers, are less able to absorb and dissipate moisture than bricks and tiles, and this results in an increased need for ventilation. Bricks and tiles are resilient to fluctuating humidity without suffering damage. Bricks and tiles effectively absorb moisture, thereby regulating the humidity in the house.