According to the most recent "European Architectural Barometer," a survey conducted by Netherlands-based architectural research firm Arch-Vision BV, many architects practicing in six European countries believe that sustainability, aesthetics, and comfort are complementary elements of building design and construction and that quality of life and sustainability go hand-in-hand.
Arch-Vision surveyed 200 architects from Germany, France, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom (U.K.), focusing on various aspects of sustainable products. For each quarter it's published, the Barometer addresses different issues concerning architectural practice.
The survey found that a majority of architects in Europe—71 percent in the U.K., 58 percent in Germany, 64 percent in France, 39 percent in Spain, 69 percent in Italy, and 65 percent in The Netherlands—think sustainability is currently over-hyped, but will nonetheless become the standard in building design and construction.
Most architects surveyed believe they are well-informed about products that can be used to build sustainably, although those in Spain and The Netherlands do not appear as confident. Only 39 percent and 35 percent of these architects, respectively, claim to be well-informed about sustainable products. Many also think that it's difficult to judge among products because every supplier or manufacturer now claims their products are sustainable.
Architects disagree about whether the ascendance of sustainable construction will impact the use of conventional building materials. More architects in the U.K. (34 percent), Spain (27 percent), and Italy (56 percent) think that sustainable construction's growth will lead to decreased use of conventional building materials, while more architects in Germany (58 percent), France (44 percent), and The Netherlands (35 percent) think there will be no such effect.
An earlier Arch-Vision survey (download a PDF) of architects in the same six countries discovered that architects in each nation hold different ideas of what sustainability means and which types of products can be regarded as sustainable.
For insights into American architects' opinions about sustainability, green building, and climate change, read the results of ARCHITECT magazine's 2009 survey in "The Wide Spectrum of Green."