March 12, 2019 - Royal College of Art - Apply to the MA Environmental Architecture program at RCA London
e-flux Architecture
March 12, 2019
March 12, 2019

Royal College of Art

MA Environmental Architecture, RCA.

Apply to the MA Environmental Architecture program at RCA London

Royal College of Art
School of Fine Art
20 Howie Street
London SW11 4AS
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Environmental Architecture is concerned with how we imagine the role of architecture in the processes of environmental transformation that the Earth is undergoing.

It is in great part due to current models of urbanisation, the associated greenhouse gas emissions and the continuous expansion of agribusiness and resource extraction, that drastic changes in our environments are taking place. We witness the effects of these activities in increasing water scarcity, soil degradation, desertification, air pollution and large-scale wildfires amongst others. But perhaps more importantly, we witness their effects indirectly in the escalation of armed conflicts often resulting from the lack of resources, the emergence of populations being displaced due to fast paced climate change, and increasingly precarious social relations and modes of living.

But while the impact of humanity in environmental change is widely acknowledged, we still need to recognise that architecture is not always a secondary character in these processes—on the contrary, architecture is by itself an environmental agent. Be it because the construction industry is the source of more than 50% of carbon dioxide emissions, or more importantly, because architecture’s designs and interventions have direct environmental impacts on the Earth’s ecosystems. The challenge we are facing, therefore, is that of thinking the relation between architecture and the environment in far deeper ways than we have been doing so far. It is a challenge that requires us to re-think the territories we co-habit, how they are changing, and how to plan and design for future changes.

In response to this challenge, the MA Environmental Architecture sets out a new space of knowledge production, project-based expertise and design intervention that aims to challenge disciplinary boundaries, assist policy making, support human rights organisations, social movements or community groups, and re-configure the way we think, design and protect the futures of the Earth and its inhabitants.

Programme Lead: Dr. Godofredo Pereira

Faculty: Dr. Jon Goodbun, Christina Leigh Geros, Georgia White, Olivier Dambron, Florencia Collo, Rafael Alonso, Flora Roumpani, Ariel Caine, Gemma Riggs, Marcus Cole.

Recent Guest Lecturers: Alon Schwabe + Daniel Fernandez Pascual, Ivan Jovanovic, Jane Trowell, Seth Denizen, Irenda Radjawali, June Rubis, Susan Schuppli, Pedro Neves Marques, Nabil Ahmed, Mikaela Patrick, Adrian Lahoud, Shela Sheikh, Alonso Barros, Luciana Martins, Xavier Ribas.

Current Studios:

The Lithium Triangle
Studio tutor: Dr Godofredo Pereira

Research partners: Rolando Humire Coca, Dr Alonso Barros, Dr Goncalo Pimentel, Dr Jorge Vergara, Fundacion Desierto de Atacama, Chile.

In the context of the global transition from fossil fuels to "clean" energy, the Lithium Triangle Research Studio will explore architecture’s contribution to new environmental futures. As models of sustainable urbanism in developed countries promote the transition away from oil and towards electric power, the production networks and global commodity chains that support this trend severely damage territories and ecosystems in the global south. This project will focus on the political and ecological tensions that characterise processes of lithium extraction across Chile, Argentina and Bolivia—an area also known as the "lithium triangle"—with a focus on the disputes between indigenous populations and global mining corporations. Characteristic of the Lithium Triangle are two key topics in contemporary environmental research: the development of carbon-free technologies and the importance of non-western environmental concepts. The Lithium Triangle Research Studio asks: how can these two come together to inform the practice of environmental architecture?

"The Orang-orang and the Hutan: architectures, anthrosols, and other medias of the inhabited forest."
Studio tutor: Christina Leigh Geros

Research partners: Dr Irenda Radjawali, Monica Tanuhandaru, Walhi (Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia), Friends of the Earth International, Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG), Indonesia.

In 2018 the MA Environmental Architecture opened a second research studio: The Organg-orang and the Hutan explores the ways in which 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. The studio focuses on the Island of Borneo, shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, where the growing demand for–and investments in–palm oil and other bio-industrial cash crops for food and energy are coupled with carbon-storage trading initiatives such as the UN-backed Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) scheme, has rapidly intensified the exploitation of resource-rich regions. Working from the elemental to the geopolitical, students design pathways of research and spatial interventions that highlight and engage with disputes between forest conservation, land rights policies, anthropogenic ecologies, and economic evolutions in Borneo.

Call for applications for the 2019- MA Programme are open until the end of July

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