Architecture After Architecture
Summary text submitted as part of grant application to AHRC/DFG
'Architecture after Architecture' investigates the way that the architectural profession, and other practitioners working in the field of the built environment, might operate in the face of the climate emergency. Living with climate emergency demands systemic change to our economies, behaviours and social structures - all of which have profound implications for approaches to our built environment. Where most research concerning architecture and the environment concentrates on technical and material responses, mainly relating to carbon reduction, this project looks at the cultural and economic contexts of the climate emergency, and the implications these have for spatial practice (a term that designates multiple ways of operating in the production of the built and natural environment). It investigates in particular the urgent need to reconsider assumptions of growth, extraction and progress on which orthodox economics is based - and which the modern project of architecture both signaled and was founded on. The aim of the project is to investigate what happens to architecture after some of those principles are challenged by the demands arising from the climate emergency.
The 'Architecture after Architecture' project is led by a UK-German team of architects and academics based in Central Saint Martins (University of the Arts London) and the Technische Universität Braunschweig, collaborating internationally with economists, sociologists, designers, artists, writers and journalists to imagine the future of spatial practices. It starts with cultural, economic and political discourses around the climate emergency as they relate to spatial practice. It will also gather evidence from contemporary spatial practice to analyse approaches that might be relevant to facing it. Because climate impacts on wider societal contexts, the project will also explore non-spatial conditions, such as those outlined in the various versions of the Green New Deal (GND). The final stage of the project takes these analyses, and projects future scenarios into which new forms of spatial practice are placed. It asks the questions: What are the spatial implications of the systemic changes arising from the climate emergency, and what role may architects and spatial agents play in the envisioning and co-design of these spatial conditions?
The primary objective of the project is to develop scenarios for new forms of spatial practice in the context of the climate emergency. These will have broad relevance to architects and other professionals (planners, geographers, policy makers) working in spatial production, built, natural and social. It will achieve this through employing innovative methods of research, including through scenario-building workshops with multi-disciplinary groups. It will also build an open-access database of 100 international examples of how practitioners are using various approaches in the face of the climate emergency.