Sustainability is dead, or at the very least the term is meaningless since being co-opted by the branding and green-washing of corporations and governments and by the technological pursuits typified by green building programs and other reductive approaches. As Ray Cole states: “green design is directed at reducing degenerative impacts... this is insufficient for an ecologically sustainable future and is an insufficient aspiration to motivate design professionals and their clients.”
Unfortunately, much of the work and theory of sustainable architecture has been incremental fine-tuning, failing to inspire design and innovation.
The natural, social, and technological worlds we inhabit have real limits and perceptible fragility. The natural systems that humanity has lived within have been altered beyond return to a “pristine” state, but hopefully not beyond functional restoration.
We are living on an Earth 2.0, where all bets are off. How do we envision a new role for design in this context? How do architects consider an integral design process merging the designed world or “technosphere” with the life support system, or “ecosphere,” of the planet?
How do we meet human needs, create delight, and inspire while enhancing the potential of natural and social systems? Can buildings be analogues for living systems?
How do we create architecture in a complex world that is in an intrinsic state of flow and flux?
This symposium will explore design and architecture as a means to conceive of and shape complex systems at the intersection of natural process and culture.