Diploma 16 Elizabeth Low, Seavilisation, semi-submerged construction technology of lightweight graphene-infused polymer nano composite, Diploma 16, 2017–18


Andrew Yau and Jonas Lundberg

In February 2018, RIBA launched Embodied and Whole Life Carbon Assessment Guide for Architects, aiming for an 80% reduction in industrial carbon emissions by 2050: the world of architecture is heading for a carbon-neutral future. It is self-evident that the building indus- try is notoriously slow in adopting new design, production and construction technologies. Plan based geometries and other parallel projections and perspectives unperturbed by technological advancement are ill suited for contemporary design standards and the environmental complexity of today. Therefore, a question as to whether these ambitious environmental targets will be met and how it will impact architecture, our cities and our lives remains. How will living experiences differ from today in 2050?

Diploma 16 will confront this worldly challenge through an exploration of speculative architectural scenarios that engage an ecological sensibility. One of the interesting aspects of carbon emission lies in the quantum of build- ing materials as emerging super lightweight material technologies raise questions as to the conventional relationship between critical mass and strength. We will investigate this notion of weightlessness – investigate its impact upon our lives and spatial experiences – and explore how material, technical and computational advances are reducing the self-weight of buildings. Probing material intelligence, geometric and spatial opportunities of analogue and computational design modelling as a primary instrument, our design processes will incorporate reality technologies such as 3D scanning, VR and AR in the pursuit of new modes of experiential production.

Seeking to define alternative ecologic aesthetics, we will forge fresh relations between the digital, built and natural environments and the unit’s proposal for ecological living will encompass three scales: the individual, the family and the community. Looking for elements of surprise and innovation, each student will construct their own ecological aesthetics anchored in these three steps, producing a design de ant of any conventional wisdom, and aim to escape what the human facility can conceive of and model.


This year the UK government is resetting its carbon reduction target from the previous 57% by 2030 to zero by 2050. While China has met its target of 46% carbon reduction by 2020, three years ahead of schedule, the AIA (USA) and RAIC (Canada) have also committed to produce 100% carbon neutral buildings.


Andrew Yau and Jonas Lundberg are members of Urban Future Organization, an international architectural practice and design research collaborative. Urban Future has won a number of international competitions and exhibited its work globally. Currently they are working on micro-to-macro-scale urban and architectural projects in Europe and the Far East.

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