Volume I—Prelude

Residual smoke blankets our atmosphere as wildfires blaze across Australia, across the Amazon, across California; rapidly intensifying hurricanes rip through the Atlantic, as explosive ammonium nitrate blasts through the Port of Beirut into the homes of people who are still struggling to gain access to food, to bank accounts; ongoing racialised attacks, murders and violence send uproars of protests through the streets; as viral, ever mutating pandemics land into our cities, into our homes, into our bodies…

In the aftermath of 2020, everything appeared out of focus. Whether the global pandemic was a catalyst for, or an exacerbation of the current political, environmental, and social crises, we had never before seen this level of civil unrest, climate disruption, and economic collapse on a global scale. In the midst of our Master's degree, this moment forced us to, personally and collectively, reconsider what our role is and what it could be. As students, how were we to confront a decaying institution that prioritised an ecosystem of production and often exploitation; over critical thinking, speculation and imagination? Are we prepared to deal with the escalating decay that is rupturing our planet? Are the tools and methods we inherit sharp enough to deal with these catastrophic environmental and social burdens?

These questions not only require a full deconstruction of the fundamental tools that define our discipline, but a reshaping of the conditions in which we share, learn, and produce knowledge. The following conversations were a way for us to navigate through the limitations of our institutions, curriculums, tools and methods. A way for us to find allies. A way for us to share, learn and speak through our uncertainties, hopelessness, confusions, concerns, passion and commitment; towards our education, towards the field of architecture, and towards our world.