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SUSTAINABLE FUTURES IV The Royal Danish Academy, the PhD School

October 1, 2024 - January 28, 2025

Titel // Titel


Sprog // Language


Ansvarlig(e) // Coodinator(s)

Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen, Martin Tamke

Kursusbeskrivelse // Course description 

Sustainable Futures IV examines the critical frameworks of sustainability theory. It asks how architecture and the built environment can become a driver for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The course asks how the history and theory of sustainability challenges our perception of architectural production and the material, technological and formal cultures that it comprises.

Sustainable Futures IV picks up on the focus on resource thinking developed over the last three courses. With specific focus on the locality of resource,  post-growth production and the ethics of resource deployment, the course critically positions resource thinking as a means of challenging and rethinking architecture’s material practices. The SDGs are overwhelmingly about resource. Their origin, ownership and rights for deployment act as a cornerstone for all 17 goals. They ask: Who has the right to resources and by what means? Who extracts? What pollutes? What land, what water, what energy and what body is implicated in extraction? Who has access and at what cost? What are the balances of our material footprint, from country to country and from Global South to Global North?

In Sustainable Futures IV we question the origins and entangled belongings of the materials we use and how architecture actively partakes in their extraction, displacement and disruption of the socio-ecological network that they are part of. We ask what happens to architectural ideals of site and project specific design, when reuse and disassembly favours generic approaches? When foundational challenges emerge and industrial logics of standardisation and market driven global availability meet ideas of hyper locally sourced biogenic and reclaimed materials dependent on local climates and heritage.

Together we will investigate the co-existing levels of transformation that our practice undergoes, now that we are past halfway to the 2030 goals of the SDGs. The course consists of 5 sessions critically reflecting on the history, theoretical frameworks and scope of sustainability and architecture’s role within it. Each session invites key actors in the field to present and discuss specific viewpoints onto these manifold and divergent dimensions. By using different methods of dissemination and interaction, our aim is to widen our perception of sustainability and our role as designers within it.

  • A seminar developed around four seminar sessions in which the framework is built informed by lectures and key texts
  • An international interdisciplinary symposium in which key researchers and practitioners present their work
  • An essay in which participants map their own research into the research framework (optional)

Datoer // Dates

October 2024 – January 2025

01/10/24         Introduction session

31/10/24         Frameworks session with international speakers

12/11/24         Group work session

26/11/24         International symposium

28/01/25         Essay presentation and final discussion


Lokalitet (fysisk fremmøde/digitalt) // Venue (physical attendance/online)

Online course with Academy physical hybrid

Min. og max deltagerantal // Min. and max participants



ECTS 5 / 3 (with and without essay component)

Tilmeldingsfrist // Application deadline

July 2024


Webpage for the course: https://phdcourses.dk/Course/111869


October 1
January 28, 2025
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