US Architects Declare is a network of architects organizing for radical change in the building sector around climate, social justice, and biodiversity. Architects Declare started in the UK in 2019 by inviting architectural firms to sign on as signatories to a joint declaration and has grown into a global network with declarations from 23 countries. Architects Declare places the responsibility and imperative on the architectural community, on architecture firms, and on architecture schools to state and enact change. Through this collective work, which is locally defined but globally connected, we can amplify both our knowledge and our impact toward change.
Efforts in the US have been defined by an intersectional approach to climate, justice, and biodiversity. We believe that these issues must be understood in relation to each other, and that the urgency of the crisis requires immediate transformation in the ways we teach, practice, and build. Further, we believe that this means working collectively, across offices and institutions, to think beyond the boundaries of our roles on individual projects. Incremental approaches will not bring about rapid systemic change. Furthermore, we understand that black, indigenous, and other people of color have been disproportionately impacted by historical and present-day actions that perpetuate societal inequities and preserve white privilege.
We see our work as complementary and supportive of a range of organizations addressing complex climate, social, and ecological challenges. The network is non-hierarchical, decentralized, and democratic. This means that it relies heavily on members’ participation, both as individuals and as workers in their offices and institutions.
US Architects Declare is not looking for a one-size-fits-all solution, recognizing that different firms, institutions, and individuals have different capacities to challenge the status quo. That said, we firmly believe that everyone has a role to play and a next step to take.
Our efforts to date have been organized around three working groups: Carbon, Social and Environmental Justice, and Biodiversity. Working groups meet regularly to set goals, advance specific projects, and steer our organizing and actions. New members are always welcome, to join in the effort please sign up here.
The mission of this working group is to empower architects to radically decarbonize their projects and to advocate for immediate and sustained decarbonization across the entire building and construction sector. This group will focus on assembling and developing strategies, tools, and resources that transform practice and are grounded in the intersection between operational carbon, embodied carbon, and broader environmental and social impacts.
Recognizing that the climate emergency disproportionately impacts disadvantaged communities, this working group will prompt education and advocacy among architects to disrupt systemic inequalities and work towards social justice. We seek to define an ethical imperative for architectural firms, small and large, to work collectively for the public good, every day, as follows:
Supporting and enhancing biodiversity is critical to the health of ecosystems and to the viability of the planet, and is therefore an urgent moral imperative for the design and construction of the built environment. Our mission is to accelerate the integration of architects into networks of experts and stakeholders working to understand and reverse the built environment’s destructive impact on biodiversity. By advancing our sector’s understanding of the critical global imperative of biodiversity enhancement, and the direct impact of our work upon “space for non-human life” (EO Wilson), we seek to build and normalize a culture of active, effective stewardship of the natural world within our practices. We identify the following routes to effectuate this necessary paradigm shift within design practices:
The Steering Committee is a group of volunteers committed to furthering the mission and direction of US Architects Declare. Steering Committee members will attend monthly meetings and will actively participate in at least one working group as a member. Current Steering Committee members are:
The Architects Declare initiative was originally launched in the UK on 30 May 2019. US Architects Declare launched in January 2020.
The Architectural League of New York initiated the formation of the US branch of Architects Declare by sending out invitations to signatories and the steering committee. The League continues to provide some logistical support, with the goal that by 2022 US Architects Declare will be a fully self-standing entity.
If you would like to make a contribution, please email [email protected]