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Log 47: Overcoming Carbon Form


Fall 2019

“Until now, most environmental discourse in architecture has focused on carbon as a by-product of building and construction," writes guest-editor Elisa Iturbe in Log 47, "making it seem that at the ecological brink, architecture's most pressing concern is energy efficiency."
Overcoming Carbon Form,” Log’s 200-page thematic Fall issue, reconceives architecture's role in climate change, away from sustainability and solutionism and toward architecture's formal complicity and potential agency in addressing the climate crisis. As Iturbe writes, “Decarbonization is not solely a question of technology and buildings systems but also a theoretical question for architecture and the city, one that questions carbon modernity as an obsolete cultural and material foundation for architecture.” To that end, the 24 authors – architects, artists, sociologists, historians, novelists, and policymakers – approach architecture’s role in the climate crisis in widely varied ways. From Pier Vittorio Aureli and Maria Shéhérazade Giudici on rethinking private property to Michael Bell and Eunjeong Seong on the house as power plant; from Holly Jean Buck on carbon sequestration infrastructure to Mimi Sheller on the military-infrastructural complex; from Skender Luarasi on anticipation to Albert Pope on urban obsolescence; from Lizzie Yarina on neoliberal resilience schemes and Gökçe Günel on a status quo utopia to Tahl Kaminer on the impossibility of autarky and Douglas Spencer on the fantasy of island life. Also in this issue, Kiel Moe on new perspectives, Rania Ghosn on geographic externalities, Laurence Lumley on asphalt, Ingrid Halland on plastic, Greg Lindquist on rolling coal, and Daniel A. Barber on air-conditioning. Plus an excerpt from Amitav Ghosh’s book The Great Derangement and a conversation with Rhiana Gunn-Wright on the Green New Deal.

More on Log 47 from
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Confronting Carbon Form: Five Conversations on Energy, Power, Space, and Architecture

Since publication, the ideas from this issue have been carving a new discursive space when it comes to sustainability and design. In winter of 2021-22, Iturbe, in collaboration with Stanley Cho and Alican Taylan, curated a series of talks that brought together architects, historians, theorists, and scholars to confront the spatial expression of our fossil fuel paradigm – carbon form – in order to find a new way forward.

PART 1: The Confrontation
Architects Sofia Pia Belenky and Joseph Grima of Space Caviar, political scientist Cara Daggett, and geographer Andreas Malm discussed energy, power, space, and architecture.
PART 2: The City
Log 47 contributors, architect Albert Pope and researcher Lizzie Yarina, discussed carbon form at the urban scale and presented case studies, from Texas to Vietnam, of the relationship between energy and form.
PART 3: The Suburb
Matthew Soules, author of Icebergs, Zombies, and the Ultra-Thin, and Keith Krumwiede, author of Atlas of Another America, discussed suburban domesticity and the home as a financial instrument.
PART 4: The Building
Architects Francesco Marullo, Louise Mozingo, and Brittany Utting discussed some of the building typologies of carbon form, from the factory to the hospital and the corporate headquarters.
PART 5: The Unknown


In this final event in the Confronting Carbon Form series, participants from the previous events collectively picked up loose threads, triangulated across their different topics, and attempted to create a clearer picture of what carbon form is and what it means to confront it. Participants included Cara New Daggett, Keith Krumwiede, Francesco Marullo, Louise Mozingo, Albert Pope, Matthew Soules, Brittany Utting, and Lizzie Yarina.
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