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What is the architecture of degrowth?

The 2019 Oslo Architecture Triennale asks us to imagine a future of degrowth, but as Matt Shaw wonders, how can architecture take those lessons to heart?

Society under Construction (State 2) by Rimini Protokoll (Kaegi) (©Benno Tobler)
Society under Construction (State 2) by Rimini Protokoll (Kaegi) (©Benno Tobler)

by Matt Shaw

The Oslo Architecture Triennale, now in its seventh iteration, has made a name for itself under the directorship of Hanna Dencik Petersson as one of the most prescient and timely showcases in the relentless stream of –iennales and –ennials, those beloved recurring art and design festivals where dreams are made. After a successful 2016 exhibition themed around migration and identity in the face of hyper-globalization, the program returned in 2019, this time examining climate change, resource allocation, and economic systems under the theme of “degrowth” with Enough: The Architecture of Degrowth. Curated by Interrobang, an architecture and engineering firm, with chief curators Matthew Dalziel, Phineas Harper, Cecilie Sachs Olsen, and Maria Smith, the exhibition is a fresh take on ecology, introducing the ideology of degrowth into architecture discourse and examining how it would help realize a more ecologically-oriented human civilization.

Degrowth has recently gotten attention as a new paradigm for understanding a post-consumerist future where resource extraction and economic growth are decelerated, giving way to new social, political, and economic systems that are more harmonious with nature and the earth’s finite resources and terrain. For an exhibition, this is fertile intellectual territory to speculate on the ways in which we build, and how they can evolve in alternative worlds. It is a refreshingly positive take on politics today, as much of our discourse, in architecture and beyond, is overwhelmingly negative and aims to discount or problematize (cancel) rather than propose new ideas or provoke new thoughts.

Installation view of The Library at The National Museum – Architecture. (Istvan Virag/OAT)
Installation view of The Library at The National Museum – Architecture. (Istvan Virag/OAT)

The main festival exhibition, titled The Library, was conceptualized as “a spatial infrastructure for sharing knowledge” and was organized as a series of four rooms or “collections” that featured works ranging from material samples and books to analyses of languages and economic systems.

Read on >>>> Source: ArchPaper What is the architecture of degrowth?

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