Make Love not Carbon Emissions – a talk by Maria Smith and Phineas Harper

This Valentine’s Day, as once again genuine human connection is eclipsed by rampant consumerism, join Phineas Harper and Maria Smith at RSUA over a glass of wine for this talk which explores a truly dysfunctional romance — the relationship between architecture and the planet. Amid much greenwash, spin, and specious claims of supposedly sustainable design, Smith and Harper cut through the noise with a propositional critique linking embodied carbon, circular economics, and social justice. 

The pursuit of infinite economic growth consumes society distorting our relationships, dictating our design decisions and poisoning the atmosphere. Architecture, like love, suffers at the hand of a crumbling paradigm which commodifies everything in its path.

What kind of architecture will we create when buildings are no longer instruments of finance? What materials will we build with when care and cultivation matter more than domination and macho toughness? How will architecture be procured in an economic system that doesn’t seek to exploit global differences in wage levels, land prices, and environmental legislation? As fires rage from the Amazon to Australia, the burning question remains: how should architecture respond amid the unprecedented ecological and social challenge we face?