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Architecture (MA)

ADS7: Transboundary Geo-logics – Politics of the Atmosphere


A vast region of permafrost—it covers an estimated two-thirds of Russia’s landmass and extends down into the Earth to depths reaching just over 1.5 kilometres—is transforming rapidly from being the largest carbon sink to one of the largest sources of carbon emissions. This year, ADS7 began with Pleistocene Park, located in the Siberian Arctic, as its point of entry. Led by Russian scientists Sergey and Nikita Zimov, Pleistocene Park is a geoengineering project aiming to restore the mammoth steppe ecosystem of the last glacial period. Their working hypothesis is that a restored grassland ecosystem in the northern hemisphere might slow the thawing of Siberian permafrost—the largest extant carbon reservoir in terrestrial ecosystems.

What if, instead of concerning ourselves with how to put carbon back into the ground, we focused on how to keep it in the ground in the first place? Confronted with the extraordinary range of Siberian permafrost, ADS7 sees an opportunity to question our primary assumptions about what it means to engage design in practices of stewardship, and imagine a mobilisation of attenuation and care towards our environments through permafrost and other soils.

Operating as a collaborative working group, ADS7 used transdisciplinary methods utilised in architecture and landscape architecture in order to situate and unpack feedback loops within their ecological, political and social contexts, unpacking the deep entanglement between these agents of the Earth—bacteria, flora, fauna, humans, minerals, soil—to explore scenarios in which these geological agents can be recognised as the political actors that they already are.