Duncan Baker Brown, BSc. DipArch FRSA ARB RIBA, presents our keynote speech on Building in the age of emergencies.
Duncan is founder of BakerBrown, Climate Literacy Champion (Principal Lecturer) at the School of Architecture Technology & Engineering University of Brighton, Member of RIBA Council, Architects Climate Action Network (ACAN), Architects Declare Steering Committee, Member of Brighton & Hove City Circular Economy Oversight Board, Member of South Downs National Park Design Review Panel
Duncan is a practising architect, academic and environmental activist. Author of ‘The Re-Use Atlas: a designer’s guide towards a circular economy’ published by RIBA, he has practised, researched, and taught around issues of sustainable development and closed-looped systems for more than 25 years. He recently founded BakerBrown, a research-led architectural practice and consultancy created to address the huge demands presented by the climate and ecological emergency as well as the challenges of designing in a post-COVID world. Over the years Duncan’s practices (and academic ‘live’ projects) have won numerous accolades including RIBA National Awards and a special award from The Stephen Lawrence Prize for the Brighton Waste House – the prize money has since been used to set up a student prize for circular, closed loop design at the University of Brighton where Duncan teaches.
Duncan has worked on projects as diverse as ‘The Greenwich Millennium Village’ in London, the RIBA’s ‘House of the Future’, the multi-award-winning ‘Brighton Waste House’ and recently he designed a new building for Glyndebourne Opera that will be constructed from waste flows and organic materials grown on site. Duncan is currently working on schemes for Net-Zero Carbon social housing with Brighton & Hove District Council, where he has recently lead on the drafting of their soon to be published Circular Economy Route Map.
Duncan is currently the Principal Investigator for two EU Interreg research programmes focussing on the re-use of construction waste, building deconstruction and re-construction. He is curated the recent international digital summer school for August 02nd-13th 2021. It asked teams of students from across the world to consider the social, economic, political, ethical, phenomenological and environmental issues associated with re-use or ‘Mining the Anthropocene’ as Duncan calls it. Called the ‘School of Re-construction’, Duncan is working on this project with Rotor DC from Brussels, Bellastock from Paris, Anthropocene Architecture School from Glasgow, Jonny Pugh (Flores & Pratts Architects), together with Brighton & Hove City Council.
Duncan is an experienced public speaker, and is one of the most high-profile architects/academics promoting the benefits of closed-loop circular systems. He also author’s academic papers, curate’s exhibitions and symposia, and host’s workshops in the UK, Europe and on occasion further afield. He recently helped to curated the ACAN Circular Economy lecture series during lockdown that attracted over 900 participants at three of the nine broadcasts. These events test ideas relating the important role the built environment has in contributing positively towards the existential challenge the Climate and Ecological Emergency present all sections of society, especially the disenfranchised.