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Diploma 4 Control devices in the Scottish peatlands; detail of an integrated project to transform Scotland into a major carbon capture territory, Eva Ibáñez Fuertes, 2018–19

Climate Peace

John Palmesino and Ann-So Rönnskog

In the Anthropocene, territories are intensified, destabilised and opened up on all sides. The impacts of human activity are changing the structures and energy levels of the Earth at such a scale that it is rapidly entering into a new stage of its history. The world-systems of modernity have extended over the planet to completely overtake the drive of the complex, interrelated material and environmental processes that shape the Earth System: a new form of intensity, conceivable only through the vast machine of remote sensing, complex models and the integrated sciences that operate at planetary level; a new territory where individuals, groups, nations, corporations and international organisations are all being thrust into new forms of power, violently crossing and reshaping boundaries, re-evaluating the very territories they rely on to survive. This radical instability of world-systems and the Earth System requires the re-evaluation of agency, new forms of cohabitation and new relations between material fluxes and polities; a new architecture of peace.

Negotiations are complex articulations of forms of polities. They are procedures through which particular polities and their internal and external systems are articulated, in which human and material processes are linked. The relative stability of the Earth since the last Ice Age has enabled humans to develop civilisations, agriculture, architecture, language, commerce, industry and the arts against an inert backdrop. Human institutions and their material spaces of operation are deeply connected to energy resources. The intense human use of energy in the Anthropocene has transformed the inert backdrop of nature into a new agent of planetary change. This process has left deep traces in the geological structures of the planet and the global concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere, as well as in the deep oceans, the sediments of rivers and the vast, intricate stratigraphy of contemporary, global cities.

A new architecture of peace in the Anthropocene is inherently unstable, open. It operates by aligning solutions for climate change mitigation with radical divestment from fossil fuels, shaping polities and material spaces at the same time. The projects of DIP4 engage new solutions for this transient, unstable moment. Rather than prefiguring a stable overall spatial configuration, they are aimed at inserting into mineralogical and biological spaces a set of propensities towards change, in order to calibrate and intensify their non-deterministic, transformative processes.

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John Palmesino and Ann-So Rönnskog together established Territorial Agency – an independent organization that combines architecture, analysis, advocacy and action for integrated spatial transformation of contemporary territories. John has been a Research Advisor at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht and previously led the research activities of the ETH Zurich/Studio Basel Contemporary City Institute. He is a founding member of Multiplicity. Ann-Sofi is a research fellow at AHO in Oslo. She was previously a researcher at ETH Studio Basel.

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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.