Hans Ibelins calls on architects to reconsider their role amidst the climate emergency at Foros 2021

The renowned Dutch historian and critic maintains that architecture must break definitively with the narrative of growth and unlimited progress

“It is imperative that all of us working in the field of architecture accept that each new construction represents a long-lasting and very negative impact on the environment. It is crucial we reconsider the role of architecture and spatial planning from the perspective of stopping construction.” The Dutch historian and architectural critic Hans Ibelings, offered this frank perspective as part of his talk on 24 February for the Foros 2021 series of lectures, organised by UIC Barcelona School of Architecture. 

In his lecture titled “Outlining a history of global warming”, Ibelings looked back over the history of architecture since the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, and was very critical of the paradigm of unlimited progress, and the idea of “better than before”, which, in his opinion, have governed architectural practices over the past two centuries. “Future generations of architects must be able to say no and reconsider their role in the field. Architects must continue to offer spatial solutions, but those solutions don’t necessarily have to involve covering more square meters with buildings”, he said. 

Hans Ibelings is editor of The Architecture Observer (Montreal/Amsterdam) and teaches at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto (Canada). He is also the renowned author of the successful book Supermodernism: Architecture in the Age of Globalization. Over the course of 2021, he plans to launch his latest editorial project titled Global warming history of architecture.

Under the title “Expectations”, Foros 2021 opens the floor to discussions on the reconstruction projects that have emerged as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, across all areas of society, with a particular focus on architecture and urban planning.

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