Greenpeace’s Activism Through Architecture


Pieces of architecture usually have something to say, but usually function takes precedent over message. That’s not at all the aim with Greenpeace‘s just-launched architecture contest. Last year, the activist group bought a parcel of land right in the middle of where the UK’s government is thinking about constructing a third runway for the busy Heathrow airport, and now the second stage of the protest is trying to develop plans to create an imposing structure that will both raise awareness for their anti-runway cause, as well as, presumably, be a horrible burden to remove (both physically and PR-wise) should the new runway get approved. So they’ve put a call out for anyone who would like to submit plans for a building whose only purpose is really just to call attention to itself. How often does that happen in an architecture contest? Of course, the downside is even if you win, you might never see the building go up:

Of course, we hope that the winning design will never actually need to be built. No new government will be able to justify continued support for the third runway. However, as we know, governments can break promises. If BAA‘s third runway plans are pushed towards construction, whenever that may be, then preparations for non-violent resistance will escalate and steps towards building our winning design will start.