International and Chinese Firms Sign Historic Accord to Tackle Climate Change

Firms pledge to design cities, towns, urban developments, new buildings, and major renovations in China to low carbon/carbon neutral standards

Extraordinary times surely give rise to extraordinary events.

One such event took place in Shenyang, China on Thursday 22nd October: an unprecedented meeting initiated by 52 key Chinese and international architecture and planning firms responsible for designing thousands of cities, neighborhoods, and buildings worldwide.

Hosted by the China Exploration and Design Association – Architecture Branch (CEDAAB) and by Architecture 2030, the meeting gathered together influential global design and planning leaders with a common mission: to initiate collaborative efforts to dramatically reduce carbon emissions in the built environment. The historic meeting culminated with the signing of the China Accord – a commitment to plan and design cities, towns, developments, and buildings in China to low carbon/carbon neutral standards.

Ed Mazria, Architecture 2030, and Chen Zhen, Secretary-General of the CEDAAB, sign the China Accord

Ed Mazria, Architecture 2030, and Chen Zhen, Secretary-General of the CEDAAB, sign the China Accord

Among the international firm signatories were DLR Group, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, ARUP, Gensler, CallisonRTKL, HKS Architects, Perkins+Will, HDR, and Glumac. Key signatories among the Local Design Institutes from various regions in China included Shanghai Xian Dai Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd., China Architecture Design & Research Group, Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd., and the Shenzhen Institute of Building Research Co., Ltd. (The complete list of signatories is included below.)

“We understand our moral and professional responsibility to address the issue of greenhouse gas emissions if we are to stay within the 2° C threshold established by the international scientific community, and the Accord is just the beginning of our joint efforts. We have a long and exciting road ahead of us to decarbonize the built environment.”
– Ed Mazria, Architecture 2030 Founder and CEO

The significance of the China Accord, and the important meeting which gave rise to it, cannot be overstated. A grand paradigm shift has been set in motion, as profound as the Modern Movement of the 1920s and 30s, in how we shape and develop the global built environment over the next 20 years.

During this period, the world is projected to build 80 billion square meters of new buildings in cities worldwide, an area equal to 60% of the entire current global building stock. Since more than half of all global construction will take place in China (38%) and North America (the U.S. and Canada 15%), it is incumbent upon the professional design communities in these countries to take a leadership role in planning for a carbon-free and truly sustainable future by middle of this century.

In order to avoid catastrophic climate change, the world must completely phase out fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment by 2050. The signatories pledged to work diligently to do just that, creating cities, towns, and buildings that are models of economic and urban sustainability.

“The signing of the Accord demonstrates the determination and moral obligation by architects and planners, both Chinese and internationally, to shoulder this huge responsibility to tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions and moving toward zero.”
– Chen Zhen, Secretary-General, CEDAAB

The China Accord is the private sector’s response to the Chinese government’s efforts to tackle climate change and achieve sustainable growth. It supports the national government’s targets to peak and begin reducing carbon emissions, as well as the State Council’s Green Buildings Action Plan and the most recent China-US Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change.

A number of initiatives will support the implementation of the Accord, including professional training, knowledge sharing events and programs, a broad-based stakeholders’ forum, and the localization of design and planning strategies utilizing real-time simulation tools.


“There are a huge number of low-cost and cost saving design and planning strategies that can be implemented to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions,” said Mr Mazria, clarifying a common misunderstanding that greener buildings must cost more. “The signatories of the China Accord will collaborate on achieving this through training and employing advanced design tools.”

The alliance of the distinguished firms behind the China Accord, and the power of the collaborative efforts to implement it, hold great promise for us all in the ongoing battle to tackle climate change.

You can download and read the China Accord here

China Accord Signatories:

  • China Exploration and Design Association – Architecture Branch
  • Architecture 2030
International Firms: Chinese Firms:
ARUP Shanghai Xian Dai Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd
CallisonRTKL China Architecture Design & Research Group
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Beijing Institute of Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd.
Perkins Eastman China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute Corp. Ltd
Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc. China Northwest Architecture Design and Research Institute Co. Ltd
DLR Group China Northeast Architectural Design & Research Institute Co., Ltd
FENTRESS Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tsinghua University Co. Ltd
Perkins + Will Tongji Architectural Design (Group) Co., Ltd
Gensler Central-South Architectural Design Institute Co., Ltd
GLUMAC Tianjin Architecture Design Institute
HDR, Inc. Dalian Architectural Design & Research Co., Ltd.
HKS Architects Architectural Design and Research Institute of Guangdong Province
KMD Shenzhen General Institute of Architectural Design and Research Co., Ltd
NBBJ The Architectural Design and Research Institute of HIT
Leo A Daly China IPPR International Engineering Co., Ltd
Moore Ruble Yudell Shandong Provincial Architectural Design Institute
Mott MacDonald Jiangsu Provincial Architectural D&R Institute Ltd.
Lake|Flato Sichuan Provincial Architectural Design and Research Institute
CBT Architects Zhejiang Prov. Institute of Architectural Design and Research
FKP Architects Jiangxi Province Architectural Design & Research General Institute
Calthorpe Associates Shandong Tong Yuan Design Group Co. Ltd
tvsdesign Heilongjiang Institute of Architectural Design
Cannon Design Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Architectural Design & Research Institute
VOA Anhui Provincial Architectural Design and Research Institute Co., Ltd
Fujian Provincial Institute of Architectural Design and Research
Guangxi Hualan Design and Consulting Group
Jilin Provincial Architecture Design Institute Co., Ltd
Shenzhen Institute of Building Research Co. Ltd

The China Accord meeting and signing ceremony was organized by the China Northeast Architectural Design & Research Institute Co., Ltd, a member of CEDAAB in Shenyang, China on October 22, 2015.

Edward Mazria Calls on Korean Architects and Building Professionals to Tackle Climate Change

Speaking at the Korean Green Architecture Forum (녹색건축 한마당) today, Ed Mazria, Founder and CEO of Architecture 2030, called for Korean building sector professionals to play a key role in tackling climate change. Mazria delivered the keynote address at the Forum sponsored by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation (MOLIT).

Highlighting the dual challenges of urbanization and climate change, he underlined the call from the scientific community that the world must phase out all carbon dioxide emissions by mid-century in order to have a good chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change. Cities account for 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and in Seoul, buildings are responsible for 68% of the city’s total carbon dioxide emissions.

To address climate change, buildings must be part of the solution, and the latest Seoul Action Plan for the Compact of Mayors states the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s commitment to reduce emissions by 25% and 40% by 2020 and 2030 respectively with 2005 as the baseline year.

The South Korean national government has set a target to have all new multifamily housing achieve zero net energy by 2025, with the Seoul Metropolitan Government going further to set 2023 as its target year. “What the Seoul government has committed to is commendable and sets an important example for other cities worldwide. Building professionals in Korea can shoulder the responsibility and use their creativity to implement these targets,” said Mazria. He also stressed that Seoul can go further and commit to a long term goal of zero CO2 building sector emissions by 2050.

Architecture 2030 and Korea Green Building Council Partner to Develop the Korea 2030 Professional Education Program

In order to support Korean architects and other building professionals to pursue lower and zero-carbon designs, Architecture 2030 and the Korea Green Building Council yesterday  signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday to develop the Korea 2030 professional education series. The series builds on the success and experience of the AIA+2030 Series that has been offered to over 30% of the American Institute of Architects’ membership in 25 markets throughout the United States and is now being produced in an online version.


“We are excited about this partnership. South Korea will be the first country in Asia to launch a 2030 Series. The series will provide not just design strategies but practical, actionable tools and methodologies that directly impact building design and performance,” said Mazria, who is set to hold a private meeting with Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon tomorrow. “There are many low-cost and no-cost design strategies that can increase a buildings’ performance and reduce its energy consumption and carbon emissions. Moving to zero does not need to be expensive,” he said.

This event and announcement come as countries, regions, cities, communities, businesses and civil society all ramp up their commitments and actions to tackle climate change before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Paris in December.


(Seoul photo: Gary Craig, Flickr)