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Architecture in the new climatic regime: transforming material practices 
Cordula Kropp (University of Stuttgart)
Albena Yaneva (University of Manchester)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

What kind of new material practices and experimental tactics transform the “laboratory” of the architect in the new climatic regime? What will be role of models, inscription devices and innovations?

Long Abstract:

Architecture and construction industries are still trying to come to terms with the legacy of modernism, that led to the extensive use of carbon intensive materials based on extractivist methods which had detrimental impact on ecological balance and communities at a global scale. Materials have become “matters of concern” with harmful effects on health, wellbeing and social imbalance. Take reinforced concrete or even wood or sand - far from being stable technical or material resources, they are highly controversial and contested “objects of preoccupation”. The immense consequences of design and construction practices on resource depletion in the “new climatic regime” (Latour 2017) have become the focus of public scrutiny. Architectural practices have felt the urgency to fundamentally rethink and change their working methods (Braun & Kropp 2023; Yaneva 2022) relying on novel digital tools to explore new possibilities such as experimenting with biogenic and geogenic materials, shifting towards local and site-specific solutions, rethinking labour cycles, etc.

In this panel, we ask: What kind of new material practices and experimental tactics will be at stake in the “laboratory” of the architect in the new climatic regime? How can we enable a construction based on low carbon and carbon sequestering materials, mobilising renewable plant and earth materials with circular life cycles? What will be the role of models (both physical and digital), “inscription devices” and technical innovations in this process? What will be the new role ascribed to architects and builders, if they are no longer consumers of materials taken from the shelf, but active agents in these cycles of material experimentation?

Latour 2017. Facing Gaia. Eight Lectures on the New Climatic Regime. London.

Braun & Kropp 2023. Building a better world? Competing promises, visions, and imaginaries-in-the-making .... Futures 154, 103262.

Yaneva 2022. Latour for Architects. New York

Accepted papers: