This paper will discuss the implications of climate change for architectural production and examine the extent to which visions and practices of sustainability address the social dimension of the green transition in the built environment. Buildings are responsible for 40% of emissions and are targeted by climate policies globally. Zero-carbon is fundamentally different from traditional construction with changes in materials and design and construction methods with far-reaching consequences for architectural practice.
Based on an ongoing investigation, the paper illustrates the emergence of disparate narratives of ‘business sense and corporate social responsibility', ‘professional ethics’ and ‘social responsibility'. The competing visions of sustainability range from technical interpretations to holistic appraisals of the construction industry calling for a radical transformation of building production. Sustainability practices too vary and are shaped by technical and commercial considerations as well as environmental and political ideologies. The paper shows that the ‘environmental turn’ in architecture is intertwined with the social divisions within which architecture and building production are embedded.