U.S. architects add a chorus of new voices to Architects Declare movement

Rallying the Troops

U.S. architects add a chorus of new voices to Architects Declare movement

Nearly 92 architecture firms large and small have joined the US Architects Declare movement at launch (Markus Spiske/Unsplash)

Today the Architectural League of New York announced the formation of the United States-based arm of the Architects Declare movement, a multi-chapter global community of architects, architectural firms, and allied organizations committed to addressing the urgent threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. Architects Declare was first initiated in the United Kingdom in May 2019 with 17 founding signatories, all of them RIBA Stirling Prize winners. In the past year, architects hailing from more than 20 countries have joined the movement.

The Architectural League, working in collaboration with a steering committee of practitioners, organized the formation of US Architects Declare. In the coming weeks, participating architects will join a series of working groups to address the climate and biodiversity emergency, and solutions within the design and building sector. As of May 27, 2020, the diverse list of signatories numbers nearly 100 and ranges from A (Omaha-based Actual Architecture Company) to almost-Z (Brooklyn’s Young Projects). Other signatories include Brooks + Scarpa, Deborah Berke Partners, Leong Leong, MASS Design Group, and Selldorf Architects.

Reads the US Architects Declare manifesto:

The interlinked crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity loss, and societal inequity are the most serious issues of our time. Buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide (C02) emissions while also having a significant impact on deforestation, habitat destruction, and species extinction.

Meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries demands a paradigm shift in our behavior in the building sector. Together with our clients and collaborators, we must design buildings, cities, and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating, and self-sustaining system.

The knowledge exists to begin that transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will. As a sector, we must work together to reshape our approach to architecture and urbanism at the speed and scale the crises demand.

The manifesto goes on to list several key commitments that signatories pledge to withhold. They include acknowledging and addressing the disproportionate impact that climate-related crises have on underserved communities; upgrading existing buildings to have a lighter ecological impact in lieu of demolishing and building anew whenever possible; and advocating for the “rapid systemic changes required to address the climate and biodiversity crises, as well as the policies, funding priorities, and implementation frameworks that support these changes.”