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Chris Stewart

Collective Architecture's Chris Stewart discusses his overlapping roles as architect and member of the Scottish Ecological Design Association in promoting green design to a wider audience.

How do you value the worth of SEDA

November 23rd, 2016

We try to ask each other this question as it is all to easy to stray. Is SEDA (Scottish Ecological Design Association) measured by it’s influence on the design community. Is it the number of members who pay their subscriptions. Do we help each other, offer support and enjoy ourselves. Can all our events promote ecological design. The answer lies in a mix of these, none of which can be measured without purpose, this is ours:

“SEDA aims to promote the design of communities, environments, projects, systems, services, materials and products which enhance the quality of life of and are not harmful to living species and planetary ecology"

What is real value, for some it can be a large sum of money, fame or power. Having these can provide sustenance and even meaning but for the most part people hold value through dear things; we think value should be based on our greatest need, life. SEDA’s purpose responds to life therefore our aims are important. These can be achieved by influence, in the main through events and activities, it is essential we are active and out there. This relies on vibrant contributors who have to be supported and encouraged. None of this can happen without the subscriptions of our membership. The sum of all these parts is an organisation of worth but each part needs to be constantly nurtured.

Our strategy over the last few years has been an emphasis to increase awareness of SEDA through events. This has been very successful with a number of activities now becoming mainstream and entering the consciousness of Scotland’s design community. We set out to develop four strong events, one for each season around which we could focus, these are:

Autumn - Sandy Halliday organises our Howard Liddell Memorial Lecture and we are fortunate that A+DS annually hold the KJ Award Exhibition at the Lighthouse. This year our lecture (more of a play) considered the life and legacy of Rachel Carson, next year expect something completely different.

Winter - Our Christmas Show and Tell will this year be held on 07th December in Edinburgh. There is still time to book a ticket please refer below for details.

Spring - Research Summit: We have held successful summits at Edinburgh University and at the RIAS.

Summer - SEDA conference and AGM: Last year Comrie was a great success, this year we will hold our conference in Stirling and focus on retrofit.

Interspersed amongst our key events are individual activities centred around Green Drinks, next week on the 01st December in Edinburgh we will show a screening of Underkastelsen/Submission by filmmaker Stefan Jarl, again please refer below for details. This year we have also been fortunate to obtain funding from the Festival of Architecture 2016 and the Post Code Lottery to enable the following;

Green Drinks Festival - Walks and talks through Edinburgh organised by David Seel considering subjects such as Colony Housing and the work of City Architect Ebenezer MacRae. Maps showing these routes can be downloaded from our web site, please refer below.

100 Sustainable Buildings Publication - Chosen from a list of member nominated projects the publication will include a forward by Robin Harper and a number of essays from important ecologists. he book will be published this spring.

Urban Interventions - Matt Bridgestock has recently completed  cycling and jogging maps around sustainable points of interest in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness. Further maps are planned for Stirling and Dundee, for further information please refer below.

This work has helped establish SEDA as a well known organisation in Scotland with greater opportunity to promote our raison d’etre. None of this can happen without our membership and we constantly encourage others to join by understanding the importance of our purpose. We do this with a genuine smile, it is important to enjoy your work.


To join SEDA  please visit the membership page on our web site at the following link

To download maps for Urban Expeditions and our Green Drinks Festival please follow the following link

To obtain tickets for  the screening of screening of Underkastelsen/Submission by filmmaker Stefan Jarl on the 01st December or our Show and Tell on the 07th December please visit the events page on our web site at the following link

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