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Australian Architects Declare Statement on Foster + Partners withdrawal from Architects Declare UK

Along with our UK colleagues, we are disappointed that Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects have chosen to withdraw from the commitments of Architects Declare UK.

Architects Declare UK launched an international movement in May 2019 with its founding signatories signing up to 11 points of action to address the twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issues of our time. We joined in July 2019. Today, almost 1000 signatories to Australian Architects Declare have been joined by Engineering practices, Landscape Architects, Contractors and Project Managers in the UK, Australia and internationally, amounting to over 6000 practices worldwide.

Australian Architects Declare’s role is to empower architects to make a paradigm shift in behaviour and take responsibility for action in their own lives and practices. This year alone, over 200 practices throughout Australia pledged to go carbon neutral. Normalise.it launched in Melbourne, proposing 15 projects that will absolutely transform our cities. Both the NSW and Victorian governments have announced significant investments in energy efficiency, biodiversity, arts, and public transport. New Zealand, Japan and the Philippines have all declared a climate emergency this fortnight, while President-Elect Joe Biden is building a climate-centric government. Action is happening, conversations are changing, and our movement has helped shape these.

We acknowledge that this is difficult. There is much change needed in the industry – more movement required, and faster, than we have seen to date.

But we are stronger together. Architects Declare as a movement makes a space for people to come together on these critical issues. We have each other, and we’ll need each other, on the difficult road ahead.

As the steering group of Australian Architects Declare, we don’t believe it’s our role to take a stand on issues on behalf of our signatories. That’s not what this movement is about. We’re not spokespeople for a passive group of professionals, we’re enablers – facilitating, building bridges, fostering a community of action – for tens of thousands of architects. From the largest practices in our country, to tiny practices in regional areas, every one of us signed because we want to take action and we want to do it together.

So, we say to each of our signatories: Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects have left the movement. Let’s make this an opportunity for reflection, discussion and action, which is exactly what our movement is about.

Where do you want to take your practice and your profession? Where does your practice stand on divesting from harm? What jobs will you do, and with whom? How far can you go, and how fast?

Let us apply Margaret Wheatley’s wise words and be brave enough to start conversations that matter within our practice and our profession. Let us acknowledge that as a profession some of us are far ahead on the journey, and some are just beginning. And that’s OK. Because we’re on the journey together – our shared commitment to help each other do everything we can for the climate and biodiversity emergency binds us.

Caroline Pidcock, Architects Declare Australia

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4 December 2020

AD wins Sustainability Initiative of the Year Award

Architects Declare has won the AJ100 Sustainability Initiative of the Year for 2020. Judges unanimously named AD winner of the award, which is given for an exemplary or innovative approach to sustainability.

From the AJ:

"Judges unanimously named Architects Declare winner of the award, which is given for an exemplary or innovative approach to sustainability.

The jury said the initiative deserved ‘praise for recognising that the climate emergency cannot be solved at the scale of an individual building and that an industry-wide coalition is needed to change the system’. Impressed with the clarity of its concept and the level of industry engagement achieved in the first year to build a global movement with more than 5,000 signatories, the judges admired ‘the skill of the initiators in assembling the founding practices and their savvy in understanding where the pressure points are’."

31 October 2020

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