Green Architecture Day

Green Architecture Day 28th April 2007
Pow Wow Eco Arts

Our eco build journey:

To coincide with the CUBE exhibition on examples of sustainable low impact living, we have organised our fourth conference of Green Architecture to be held at CUBE in the morning and then across to Manchester’s Centre for Sustainability (MERCI) in Ancoats for the afternoon sessions.

What started out as a small event to tie into Architecture week way back in 2004 has become an all embracing passion for members of the Powwow Board, and has led us to explore the many ways that sustainable building can be implemented both as an individual and as a community. I should stress right away that we love yurts! but are all a bit more realistic and practical than to presume that the whole world can be that low impact, as a result we have explored every method of eco architecture from high tech to hands on to learn and adapt our views.

From humble beginnings we have looked at sustainable housing projects in Amsterdam, Spain, Portugal and Morrocco to name but a few. We have attended planning and eco building events nationally and courses on community building plus we have had fun building with straw, timber, rammed earth and cob. This has culminated in a vision of a urban eco build in Manchester; a quality community of zero carbon housing suitable for all walks of life, from single people to large families, with community resources and work spaces.

Our vision has travelled a long way like us and taken many development twists and turns. One of the most positive aspects of this has been the strong partnerships we have forged with organisations and people willing to work with us and help us achieve our vision. Having a grand plan is a scary thing especially as none of us have any specific planning or architectural training, though we have learnt fast! but maybe because the community of sustainable building is still relatively small or maybe because they, like us, want better living spaces the help is continually forthcoming. It has shown us that you don’t necessarily need to tick the right educational boxes to make a project come to life, you just need to have the balls to keep on going and inspire other people with what you want to achieve.

Last year we put in a Living Landmarks lottery bid for Eco Fabrik™, our urban zero carbon community. Amazingly we actually got down to the last 70 entries out of over 300. As far as we are aware we were the only social enterprise and community led project to get that far. Unfortunately we didn’t make it through to the final 30 but the experience and feedback from the consultation committee has been overwhemingly positive. We now have thorough business plans for every part of our scheme, detailed costings and partner support. If Manchester plans to be the Greenest UK city then it needs a cohesive urban eco community that reflects this.

In the meantime we hold events in Manchester to inspire other city dwellers to try out some eco building methods, listen to the leading practitioners in sustainable housing and to meet other people trying to make a difference. If you feel like adding to our website drop us a line and we will put a link up to spread the word.

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