Environmental Architecture Events

Intertemporal Ecologies: In More Than Human Worlds

12–14 December 2018

Organised by: Royal College of Art at Art Catalyst in Kings' Cross, London

Intertemporal Ecologies: In More Than Human Worlds celebrates the work of the inaugural cohort of MA Environmental Architecture graduates exploring the future of environments, landscapes and ecosystems. It presents elements selected from the body of work produced collectively and individually over the last 15 months. 

The research presented focuses on the environmental and territorial disputes resulting from the extraction on lithium in the Salar de Atacama, Chile. On the one hand, lithium emerges as a key component to the global approach to mitigating climate change; on the other, its extraction results in the appropriation of water – a living being at the heart of fragile ecosystems and indigenous territories. 

The work presented reflects on the role of design and architecture at the intersection of these incommensurable demands, while recognising the complex system of relationships and entanglements they are part of. The exhibition brings together the dynamic cycles of both mental, social and material ecologies that inform diverse relationships between human, non-human and other than human beings. Through a programme of workshops, talks and conversations the event will explore the past, present and future of environments as more than human worlds.

For more information about this event please follow this link.

Vanessa Lastrucci, Visualisation of stratified land and water rights in the San Pedro de Atacama watershed. Detail. 2018.
Visualisation of stratified land and water rights in the San Pedro de Atacama watershed. Detail., Vanessa Lastrucci 2018

The Orang-orang and the Hutan: Architectures, Anthrosols, and other Medias of the Inhabited Forest.

8 November 2018

Organised by: Royal College of Art, London

Addressing intersectional knowledges and spatial structures entangled within social and ecological tensions of a forest under fire, The Orang-orang and the Hutan: architectures, anthrosols, and other medias of the inhabited forest – a new project within the RCA’s MA Environmental Architecture Programme – will interrogate bio-resources through specific, elemental materials and processes that comprise the inhabited forest. In step with the global push for ‘clean’ energy, prolific development and availability of new technologies, along with expanded networked territories and network capacities, are rapidly reconfiguring traditional methods and communities of resource extraction. Increasing access to global production networks and commodity chains alter traditional structures of exploitation and unlock new resource markets. These markets actively reorganise relationships – seen and unseen – across vast territories of resource-rich terrain. Driven by a growing demand for and investments in palm oil and other bio-industrial cash crops coupled with carbon-storage trading initiatives, the exploitation of such regions has intensified rapidly in recent decades. Misunderstood, complex forest ecologies and insufficient data contribute to poorly enforced regulatory policies. In this context, local indigenous tribes have turned to new technologies to operationalise opportunity and resistance.

The Environmental Architecture project reckons with both real costs and potential opportunities created by planetary urbanisation. Refuting the common notion of export product as commodity through an examination of the materials of the environments that produce them, this event marks the launch of a four-year research project endeavouring to design operational research methods capable of empowering and shifting momentums of the social, spatial, and ecological processes and relations that create these fertile materials as a means to decolonise ideas of conservation and valuation of the inhabited forest.

For more information about this event please follow this link.

Peatland burning on the edge of the city of Palangkaraya
Peatland burning on the edge of the city of Palangkaraya, October 2015
Photographer: Suzanne Turnock/OuTrop

Investigating Environmental Ecologies: Local Communities Extractivism and Territory in the Atacama Desert

23 March 2018

Coyo Antai Cultural Centre, S. Pedro de Atacama, Chile

Organised by: Fundación Desierto de Atacama and the Royal College of Art, London

All around the globe, environmental disputes are multiplying as evidence of the violent encounters between resource extraction and local peoples. Deforestation, water appropriation, pollution and environmental contamination, are some of the visible consequences of extractivism. But it is not only the material aspects of environments that are being plundered and polluted: social relations and modes of being together are equally at risk. With the disappearance of a simple lagoon it is not only an ecosystem of water, vegetation and animal life that disappears, but collective, social or religious rituals as well. Socio-environmental relations, however, are not always visible, and much less are the modes by which they are affected. In fact, it is in great part because environmental violence is chemical or molecular that it can continue to take place. In face of this situation we need a new aesthetics for capturing and visualising environmental changes and we need new or other modes of narrating the world. But most of all, we need new alliances between different modes of knowledge production, between research and practice, between academia, NGO’s and community organisations. We need to build capacity for investigating environmental disputes and allowing more democratic processes of decision-making. We need different environmental futures.

This seminar will discuss the importance of research in supporting social movements and community struggles for alternative models of development. Based on the works of FDA in Chile, and the RCA in London, we will discuss methods, practices, and tactics of collaboration across disciplines and non-academic organisations, towards the empowerment of communities for having a say over the transformation of the territories they inhabit.

Afiche Seminario Ecologías Somabientales (San Pedro, 23 de marzo)
Afiche Seminario Ecologías Somabientales (San Pedro, 23 de marzo)

Architecture, Energy and Environment

19 March 2018

Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago

Organised by: EARQ UC + Estudio Común

Presentation of current research and environmental architecture methodologies by architects and urban designers from Chile and England. MA Environmental Architecture, Royal College of Art (Dr Godofredo Pereira and Dr Jon Goodbun); and Energy and Territory, UC Architecture School (Ignacio García Partarrieu & Arturo Scheidegger).

For more information about this even please follow this link.

Arquitectura Energia y Medioambiente
Arquitectura Energia y Medioambiente

Environmental Futures: Architecture and Green Technologies in the Lithium Triangle

19 October 2017

Organised by: Royal College of Art, London

In a context of transition from fossil fuels to 'clean' energy, the MA Environmental Architecture programme at the Royal College of Art announces a four-year research project on the environmental consequences of lithium extraction. The research will focus on Chile, Argentina and Bolivia - an area also known as the 'lithium triangle', and will be developed in collaboration with local research partners including advocacy teams and indigenous organisations.

For further information about the event please follow this link.

Evaporation ponds, Salar de Atacama, Chile (Ivan)
Evaporation ponds, Salar de Atacama, Chile (Ivan Alvarado/Reuters).