The Lithium Triangle

2019

Tutor: Dr Godofredo Pereira

Research Cluster 1, Environmental Architecture, Royal College of Art

Collaborated with Gabriela Milobedzka and Mouhamadou Cissé

In the context of the global transition from fossil fuels to ‘clean’ energy, the Lithium Triangle Research Studio will explore architecture’s contribution to new environmental futures.

As models of sustainable urbanism in developed countries promote the transition away from oil and towards electric power, the production networks and global commodity chains that support this trend severely damage territories and ecosystems in the global south. This project will focus on the political and ecological tensions that characterise processes of lithium extraction across Chile, Argentina and Bolivia - an area also known as the ‘lithium triangle’ – with a focus on the disputes between indigenous populations and global mining corporations. Characteristic of the Lithium Triangle are two key topics in contemporary environmental research: the development of carbon-free technologies and the importance of non-western environmental concepts.

How can these two come together to inform the practice of environmental architecture?
Through collaborative research methods and partnerships with organisations on the ground, this studio will explore what can be the role of architecture and design in reconfiguring environmental disputes, both by engaged research, live projects, and the development of speculative design propositions.

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