Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid withdraw from Architects Declare

Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects have both withdrawn from Architects Declare, an organization seeking to raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergency. Photo © Hufton+Crow
Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects have both withdrawn from Architects Declare, an organization seeking to raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergency.
Photo © Hufton+Crow

Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) have left Architects Declare, a network of architecture practices seeking to raise awareness about climate change and loss of biodiversity.

As per Dezeen, the decision to exit Architects Declare was made after signatories, such as Foster + Partners and ZHA, were criticized for designing airports and for being involved in the aviation sector. Last week, Architects Declare told Dezeen that high-profile architects are “clearly contravening” climate pledges.

“Foster + Partners has withdrawn from Architects Declare because, since our founding in 1967, we have pioneered a green agenda and believe that aviation, like any other sector, needs the most sustainable infrastructure to fulfil its purpose,” said Norman Foster, studio founder, in a statement issued to Dezeen.

“Agriculture and aviation are not going to go away and they will both need the most sustainable buildings to serve them together with the architects who can most responsibly design them,” the statement said.

Architects Declare released a statement on Foster + Partners saying, “We are disappointed that Foster + Partners have chosen to withdraw from the declarations and we would welcome a conversation with them on the points raised. We recognize that addressing the climate and biodiversity emergencies challenges current practice and business models for us all, not least around the expansion of aviation. We believe that what is needed is system change and that can only come about through collective action. Architects Declare is not a ‘protest’ movement but a collaborative support network to innovate positive transformation. Our movement is global.”

ZHA exited the group asserting that Architects Declare is “setting the profession up for failure.”

“Architects Declare’s steering group has unilaterally decided on its own precise and absolute interpretation of the coalition’s commitments,” ZHA said in a statement to Architects’ Journal. “By doing so, we believe they are setting the profession up for failure. Redefining these commitments without engagement undermines the coalition and trust. We saw Architects Declare as a broad Church to raise consciousness on the issues; enabling architectural practices of all sizes to build a coalition for change and help each other find solutions. We need to be progressive, but we see no advantage in positioning the profession to fail. In fact, it would be a historic mistake.”

In response, Architects Declare said, “…Patrik Schumacher of ZHA (a signature practice to Architects Declare) had asserted that ‘we need to allow prosperity and progress to continue and that will also bring the resources to overcome [the climate crisis] through investment in science and new technologies. That must be built on continuous growth.’ He also warned against ‘those voices who are too quick to demand radical changes.’ We believe these statements are fundamentally in conflict with the Architects Declare commitment to ‘advocate for faster change in our industry towards regenerative practices.’ We also believe these statements are scientifically flawed and decades out of date in terms of informed intellectual thought.” Click here to read the full statement.

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8 comments on “Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid withdraw from Architects Declare”

  1. We architects should be intrinsic in our approach to solutions not systemic (slaves to sets of confining rules). When we begin to think like governmental organizations we can loose our creativity and be bound by limits that are defined by conditions as they are and not as conceptual thinking can change them. Our firm practiced all the “buzz word” design criteria in the 70s and 80s because it was good for the client, environment, and led to creative solutions.

  2. Kuddos to Foster & Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects for standing up to reason and not to political outreach.

  3. You cannot lead faster than people can follow. However, when it comes to climate change, it is too late for a leadership model to work.

  4. Project shaming at its worse. We have to be business oriented first to employ talent and take on issues. Congrats to Foster and Hadid!!

  5. What a decision to both people and we architect should implement our creativity not changing our climate because God is response for it.

  6. If buildings form part of the ecosystem of human habitat which is an integral part of the environment would it not be the right thing for architects to reflect on the role they play or should play in this narrative.

  7. Climate Change is a real and natural process. Our earth’s climate began to change about 12,000 years ago with the ending of the last Ice Age, as any student of Geology knows. Log onto Ice Age on Google for additional information.
    When the last Ice Age ended sea levels began to rise with the melting of the glaciers. Since then they have risen about 300 to 400 feet, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.
    So, the major challenge to people and buildings is sea level rising. Miami Beach is a prime example. Built on coral base sea levels will percolate through the porous coral and flood the barrier island. And many other coastal communities such as New York City, New Orleans, and all towns and cities on rivers whose flow rates will slow due to sea level rises.
    Designing and building water control projects should be a top priority for all cities and towns at risk worldwide.
    Contact Me for further information.

  8. Well done by Foster & Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects. This declaration is just a fad, another movement, and a “sign of the times”. It will soon pass. Creativity cannot be harnessed or stifled with a set of dogmas presented by Architects Declare. God is in control. Climate change has been in existence since the beginning of time.

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