The Library: What is degrowth made from?
17:00 – 19:00
Nasjonalmuseet – Arkitektur, Bankplassen 3, Oslo
Organisers: National Museum and Oslo Architecture Triennale
Architects have moralised a great deal about materials. Much-coveted claims around material "truth" have achieved an almost religious reverence. Materials and their signal values send deep messages about the ethics of the architects who specify them. Yet can it really be honest to build in exposed structural concrete given what is known about the immense carbon emissions of cement? Can it be ethical to make walls ridden with oil-based components with short use lives? or to import steel from across the world? Wouldn't a truly truthful architectural strategy be more concerned with the sourcing and science of materials than aesthetic quibbles about how they are expressed in form? We hear a lot too of so-called smart materials — membranes which contort to a given shape with an electrical current, bendable LCD screens, Vantablack pigment, atom-thin graphene and so on. These are not smart materials, they are absurd fads. Nonsensical distractions from the pressing problems at hand.
In a degrowth economy, new material choices will be driven by new values systems. What materials, in a culture which no longer rewards consumerist novelties nor facilitates artificially cheap imports, will we research, value and build with? This symposium brings together the leading architectural practitioners of a new vanguard of material science — including those for whom new materials are the oldest of all.
Alejandro del Castillo, n'UNDO, Spain
BC Architects & Studies & Materials, Belgium
Kate Yeh Chiu, yyyy-mm-dd, Canada
Seetal Solanki, MA-TT-ER, UK
Anna Webster, Interrobang, UK
Matthew Dalziel, architect and curator for OAT 2019