ACAN calls on Foster + Partners to withdraw from Amaala airport project

This week, Foster + Partners faced calls to drop an airport project as Apple pledged to go carbon neutral

This week on Dezeen, climate activists pressured Foster + Partners to pull out of a private airport project while tech company Apple committed to going carbon neutral by 2030.

The Architects Climate Action Network (ACAN) claimed that Foster + Partners' involvement with Amaala, a private airport in Saudi Arabia, is incompatible with the practice's position as a founding signatory of Architects Declare – a network of practices supposedly committed to tackling the climate emergency.

ACAN calls on Foster + Partners to withdraw from Amaala airport project
ACAN calls on Foster + Partners to withdraw from Amaala airport project over climate concerns

"Our network strongly believes that UK architecture practices should not be working to expand aviation in the midst of this climate emergency," ACAN explained in a letter to Foster + Partners.

Readers also debated the topic in this week's comments update – while some sided with ACAN, others argued that Foster + Partners pulling out will "not solve the problem".

Apple commits to being carbon neutral by 2030
Apple commits to being carbon neutral by 2030

In contrast, Apple made promises this week to become carbon neutral in the next decade. The US tech company said that its global corporate operations are already carbon neutral but wants its entire business, including all of its devices, to have a net-zero climate impact by 2030.

"With our commitment to carbon neutrality, we hope to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change," said Apple's CEO, Tim Cook.

RISD campus in Providence, Rhode Island
RISD president announces plan to tackle school's "multiple racist issues"

The Architectural Association continued to be under fire as Elia Zenghelis, a former teacher at the London school, came forward to say that its governing council should resign for its "inept and obviously prejudiced" sacking of director Eva Franch i Gilabert.

Meanwhile, over at the Rhode Island School of Design, president Rosanne Somerson announced a series of initiatives to address the racism that has "pervaded systems and structures at RISD for decades".

Following pressure from both students and staff, Somerson said the school is "committing to a new set of actions to inspire a better RISD – a RISD where students, faculty and staff of all races, ethnicities and cultures are supported, nourished and honored without the impediments of systemic racism."

SAW and Covid-19
Architecture workers are being exploited during pandemic, warns union

Tensions also rose elsewhere in the architecture and design sphere as the Section of Architectural Workers accused UK architecture studios of cutting pay and illegally making staff work while furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) also issued warnings this week that the UK government's plans to extend permitted development rights will produce tiny "sub-standard homes".

"The extension of this policy is truly disgraceful," said RIBA's president Alan Jones.

Tsubo House designed by Fraher & Findlay
Tsubo House in Hackney features tiny Japanese-style courtyard

House extensions proved popular on Dezeen this week. Architecture practice Fraher & Findlay renovated and extended a home in Hackney, east London, adding a tiny Japanese-style courtyard that offers glimpses of old and new parts of the property.

Neil Dusheiko Architects also wrapped a slender-brick extension around a semi-detached house in Cambridge, additionally building a charred-wood sauna and gym in its back garden.

1471 Forest Knoll by Standard Architecture
Swimming pool cantilevers from Los Angeles residence by Standard Architecture

Other projects that caught readers' attention this week include an Edinburgh apartment that was overhauled by an architect couple, a residence in Los Angeles that has a cantilevering pool and a charred-wood chalet that overlooks a lake in Canada.

This week on Dezeen is our regular roundup of the week's top news stories. Subscribe to our newsletters to be sure you don't miss anything.