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Climate Strike: how will architects be responding?

Greta thunberg climate strike

Architectural practices will be joining marches across the country in solidarity with the Climate Strike demonstrations and industrial action taking place tomorrow (20 September)

The global climate strike is a response from business and industry in support of the millions of pupils who have already participated in the Fridays for Future school strikes in recent months, originally sparked by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

The international walk-outs also follow the Extinction Rebellion protests earlier this year and the declaration of a climate emergency by the UK Parliament and others, including the RIBA.

Among the practices encouraging their staff to down tools and march is Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. The firm said it would then be linking its offices in Bath, Belfast, Edinburgh, Manchester and London for ‘an informal lunchtime carbon footprint review’ before hosting an afternoon of collaborative zero-carbon project workshops.

Other firms known to be taking part in marches include Bennetts Associates, Chetwoods, Exploration Architecture, PRP, Penoyre & Prasad and Stanton Williams.

East London-based Child Graddon Lewis has planned a whole week of activities and is redesigning its studio’s courtyard to create ‘a symbol for many years to come of 20 September’. It has invited local primary school children to help with planting seeds.

Meanwhile, staff from LTS Architects will also be striking and looking at how to ‘green’ the practice. The team at RIBA Stirling Prize-winning practice dRMM said it too would be ’taking recess from our regular studio work for the day’ and marching from Store Street before ’regrouping at the studio for an internal discussions aimed at identifying measurable changes we can make as a practice’.

Alex Ely’s firm mae architects said his practice would will be joining the Climate Strikers. He said: ’We have a programme of climate-related debates and workshops. Attendance at the march is voluntary, so we anticipate having skeleton cover, but we are informing clients that we’re engaging with the strike.’   

ArchitecturePLB announced it would be stopping work tomorrow afternoon ’to host a multi-disciplinary climate workshop’.

In London, the UK Green Building Council has called on architects and other industry professionals to gather outside The Building Centre, in Store Street, London WC1, at 11:45am, before marching down to join the main demonstration at Millbank.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said: ’This week’s strike represents a significant moment in climate action, with people around the world rallying to demand change from governments and industries.

’I hope architects will participate in some form, to progress the issue and improve the way they practice to address this major problem. The RIBA is supporting a number of its staff to participate in the strike, and holding workshops for colleagues to share information and discuss practical actions that all individuals can take.

Architects must step up and take the lead

‘Our profession has a very significant role to play in tackling the emergency. Architects have the knowledge and insights, skills and evidence to reduce carbon emissions – we must step up and take the lead.’

The AJ will be reporting from Store Street and tweeting about the day’s protests. Anyone wishing to join in on Twitter should use the hashtag #climatestrike and also tag @architectsjrnal.




Readers' comments (2)

  • Instead of just going on strike, why not do something really useful like blocking a bridge somewhere with the Extinction Rebellion crowd, get arrested, and waste everyone’s time with a bit of real virtue signalling?!!

    Or perhaps not recommend the destructive and short sighted expansion of Heathrow Airport?

    Or look for a less expensive and time consuming way of increasing capacity on rail routes between London and the north, and investing in public transport connecting the Northern Powerhouse from Liverpool to Newcastle and beyond, including local bus routes?

    Or using the trillions of pounds made available every year by Green Bonds for sustainable projects? You don’t know about Green Bonds? Neither does most of the UK construction industry! Google them on your phone while sitting outside Store St?

    Show the world what we are doing, and mean to do to avoid climate change, conserve resources, and help feed the increased populations created by medicine and better life chances?

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  • Greta owns two labradors. Are they vegan?

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