Oslo Architecture Triennale Architecture of degrowth

"We live in a finite world with finite resources"

In this week's comments update, readers are discussing Phineas Harper's claims that the pursuit of infinite economic growth is driving climate breakdown. 

Deadly sinsPhineas Harper, one of the chief curators of the Oslo Architecture Triennale, has sparked debate by arguing that the pursuit of infinite economic growth is driving climate breakdown and producing ecologically toxic architecture.

"Incredibly well written and clear," said Christopher Gon De Leeuw. "Unfortunately it just serves to make more clear the enormity of the obstacles we as a global society need to overcome. I wish the solution was as easy as a new concrete mixture – sadly the real difficulty will be overcoming greed."

"The desire to understand and make the world a better place and the anxiety of it becoming worse have underpinned human development throughout history," continued Ade Oshodi. "These now need to be focused on the challenge at hand. Greed and fear will remain as the formidable forces. Better to harness them than to deny they exist."

Eugene Ely went on: "We live in a finite world with finite resources. The only economic systems we’ve ever considered assume growth is an unquestioned given. That’s not going to work much longer. It’s not working now. Listen to Greta."

"Nature has a way of dealing with all of this... it won't be long now," concluded Marmite.

This reader was distracted by the story's visuals:

Do you agree with Harper? Join the discussion ›


Not ready for take off: commenters are criticising the recently completed terminal building at Beijing Daxing International Airport, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.

"Looks like a lot of ideas packed into one space," said Marc Sicard. "But kind of works I think? Except for the floors. The floors are screwed up. Too much texture and reflection."

"Not as offensive as your typical ZHA project, but still way too much architecture packed in there," agreed Heywood Floyd.

Spadestick was less forgiving: "No, no, no, no, no! Looks completely sterile – best suited for military scientific operations. Not for humans."

"This just looks like a self-indulgent exercise in how to squeeze as many different design ideas into one project as possible," added Alfred Hitchcock. "Trying to find your departure gate in this mess will not be a calm, relaxed or pleasant experience."

This commenter compared the shape of the building to a weapon:

What do you think of the airport terminal? Join the discussion ›


Keep the faith: David Adjaye has revealed visuals for an interfaith complex in Abu Dhabi that will aim to encourage "peaceful co-existence and acceptance" of the three Abrahamic faiths – Christianity, Islam and Judaism – but readers aren't convinced.

"Could have been more interesting to see one structure house all three monotheistic faiths," said Archi Guru.

Patrick B also had advice: "The dominant unifying factor and the most relevant aspect of the project, the garden, is sadly unrealised, under researched and generally misunderstood. The great opportunity for symbolic unity has been missed."

"I love that the convergence point of the whole project is the gift shop! Where they all can pray to our true god, consumerism!" added A.Gil.

"Always a struggle to work with a client with budget constraints," joked Christopher Gon De Leeuw.

Consumerism was on this reader's mind too:

Are you impressed by The Abrahamic Family House complex? Join the discussion ›


RIBA debates Boris Johnson

Sign of the timesreaders are divided after members of the Royal Institute of British Architects signed a letter calling for UK prime minister Boris Johnson's honorary fellowship to be taken away.

"Why does he get credit for the bike sharing scheme anyway?" asked HHGeek. "And what did he actually contribute to London's architecture, rather than attempting to destroy it or impose his own pathetic idea of 'legacy'? The number of projects he called in to override local council decisions was appalling just on its own – I'm bewildered that the RIBA saw fit to appoint him in the first place."

"Isn't it better to strip off the RIBA honorary fellowship from the person who awarded this to Mr Boris?" suggested Mr A.

Le Ego went on: "Are there not bigger things than a meaningless award to be worrying about at the moment, you know, like the hollowing out of our democratic institutions?"

Bored Millennial was annoyed: "So because you don't like someone, they should be removed/stripped of something they were honored with. Yeah, that makes total sense."

This commenter was also supportive of the prime minister:

Should Johnson have his honorary fellowship taken away? Join the discussion ›