Pioneering climate action in architecture education

A University of Queensland School of Architecture lecturer has been awarded a 2022 Churchill Fellowship to further her work pioneering climate action in the profession.

Dr Liz Brogden has designed Australia’s first mandatory course focusing on climate change within a Master of Architecture program, to be implemented at UQ from 2023.

“Climate change is fundamentally reshaping architecture, whether we like it or not,” Dr Brogden said.

“As well as new policies and legislation redefining architectural practice, the next generation of architects coming through is demanding climate action.

“These are young people who’ve only known a world in crisis, and they want purposeful work that aligns with their values.”

Dr Brogden said architecture is uniquely placed to address climate change.

“Sustainability in architecture is nothing new but applying that expertise to the problem of climate change is very new,” she said.

“We know we’re only going to see more frequent extreme weather events and higher temperatures, so what’s being designed now needs to be resilient.”

Dr Brogden said building climate literacy was crucial and could foster connection between architecture schools and industry.

“Effective climate action requires collaborative effort,” she said.

“Climate literacy needs to be developed in university programs, right through to informing degree accreditation standards, pathways to registration as an architect and continuing professional development requirements.”

Dr Brogden has been awarded a 2022 Churchill Fellowship to connect international initiatives on climate action with those by Australian architects.

“I plan on travelling to the UK, Finland and the Netherlands in 2023, where I’ll interview architects pioneering climate action in education and practice,” she said.

“I’ll also attend COP 28 in the UAE.

“The Churchill Fellowship will allow me to explore progressive climate literacy frameworks globally and understand possible transition pathways for architecture in our region.

“I’m excited to see how architecture education can propel the change we want to see, in practice.”

Dr Brogden was presented with her Churchill Fellowship by Queensland Governor, The Honourable Dr Jeanette Young, at a ceremony at Government House earlier this month.

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