Taking the Country’s Side: Agriculture and Architecture

A Seminar with Sebastien Marot (EPFL)
organized by the AA PhD Programme
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
6.30 pm, 33 Bedford Square, First Floor, Back Room

Given the environmental predicament which is now ours, our core hypothesis is that no sound reasoning will develop on the future of agriculture and architecture, which both emerged as the twin fairies of the Neolithic revolution (and thereafter of the Anthropocene), unless those two fields of concerns are reconnected and fundamentally rethought in conjunction to one another. Our intention is thus to deeply question the growing divorce and estrangement of the two disciplines, as it was initiated by the scientific revolution (and its so-called mastery and domination of nature), pronounced by the spread of market economy, and consecrated by the industrial era, which precipitated both into the parallel dead-ends of metropolitan congestion and monocultural deserts. Taking the Country’s Side extends to architects, as well as to all those concerned by the current evolution of our living environments, an invitation to leave their metropolitan niche, their zones of professional comfort and smartness, and literally “take a walk on the wild side”. For now several decades, it so happens that several individuals and communities, committed to enacting alternatives to the deleterious processes of industrial agriculture and market economy (under the name of permaculture, social ecology, agroforestry, bioregionalism or agroecology), have evolved a treasure trove of ideas and principles that significantly challenge the core concepts of architecture and urbanism today. As a poetics of reason for the Anthropocene, this practical wisdom is in our view more relevant than what Academia usually has to offer, and way more pointed than what currently circulates under the name of “architectural theory“.