More than 250 American architecture practices have signed an open letter to Donald Trump ahead of the president-elect's inauguration on Friday. A host of firms including Snøhetta, Brooks + Scarpa, Deborah Berke Partners and Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects are among 276 signatories to the letter, which urges the notoriously stubborn Trump to take action on climate change. Organised by the Architects Advocate coalition, which formed during the presidential election in 2016 as a direct response to Trump's claims that (to paraphrase the man) “China made-up the concept to harm American manufacturing,” the letter spells out three actions the president should take in order to “turn our climate challenge into an unrivalled economic opportunity.” The first is investment in renewable energy, the second is levelling subsidies that support fossil fuels and nuclear energy, and the third is continued participation in the Paris Climate Agreement. These calls are significant given the fact that climate-change denier Trump was elected on a platform of dismantling the Paris Agreement, which was drafted in 2015 and sets countries targets to reverse the worst effects of global warming. So far it has been signed by nearly 200 countries, including the UK.
The letter calls for Trump, who has qualified only some of his policies since the election in November, to reconsider his stance. It notes that action on climate change is supported across party lines and by a majority of Americans, and that the architecture industry is particularly invested in the issue. Other signatories to the letter include Handel Architects, Lake Flato and Studio Dwell. In total, 229 architecture firms have already signed, along with 24 landscape architecture films, 21 other design and consulting industry firms and two organisations. Architects Advocate next intends to approach elected officials with the letter and hold climate-change forums with the general public. The open letter is not the first addressed to Trump from the architecture community. Shortly after the US election result last year, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) put out a statement pledging to work with US president-elect Donald Trump to improve the country's infrastructure. The statement prompted a backlash from many US architects, leading the AIA to issue an apology.
You can read the full letter below and it's an absolute doozy:-
As American architects, we are dedicated to creating healthy, productive, and safe communities for all. We are committed to doing so in a way that is economically viable, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable. In these communities, families and businesses thrive.
Throughout our great history we have always depended on the natural environment. It has nurtured us and has enabled vast freedom, growth, innovation, and profit. Today we are already experiencing the potentially irreversible negative impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. American prosperity is at risk. Our children and grandchildren face the real possibility of our country and world in turmoil.
Because buildings alone account for almost 40% of total U.S. energy use and 72% percent of U.S. electricity use, America’s architects are on the front line addressing climate change in a meaningful way. Action on climate change is supported across party lines by significant majorities of Americans, including the military and leaders of industry, faith, science, and education.
By taking decisive action now we all can be remembered as historic and courageous actors who helped secure humanity’s future. We can turn our climate challenge into an unrivalled economic opportunity that creates desirable and healthy jobs in rural and urban communities alike.
All Americans win if:
We invest in a clean and competitive U.S. economy that is powered by renewable energy through cost-effective and innovative solutions. This creates jobs and lowers the costs of living and doing business.
We stand up to the influence of special interest money in politics to create a truly level playing field. Subsidies for renewable energy technologies should be equal to the many hidden and costly subsidies that support fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Alternatively, all subsidies across all energy sources should be removed in their entirety.
We re-affirm America’s commitment to addressing climate change through the continued participation in the historic Paris Climate Agreement.
We invite you to join our commitment to developing healthy and prosperous communities, and to designing and building the great America that future generations deserve.
Together, we can ensure our children and grandchildren will remember us with pride.
229 Architecture Firms
24 Landscape Architecture Firms
21 Design + Consulting Industry Firms
As damning and profound as the letter is, there's every chance, of course, that it will fall on deaf and/or ignorant ears. Trump appears to have a hidden agenda when it comes to climate change, in fact he appears to have a hidden agenda when it comes to everything, so there's little chance it will make much of an impact on him. It does, however, prove just how much the creative industries continue to care about the planet and one another, so if nothing else it acts as a bright beacon of hope in a very dark world indeed.