2022-23 Mellon Faculty Grant
World Heritage at Risk
The impacts of climate change on World Heritage Sites—from Venice flooding to extinction in the Galápagos Islands—have garnered attention in a media landscape that has otherwise mostly failed to convey the urgency of the climate crisis.
Taking literally the ubiquitous assertion that heritage is for future generations, the speculative architectural drawings of Associate Professor Rania Ghosn’s Climate Inheritance visualize pervasive climate issues and risks all while reckoning with the complexity of both “heritage” and “climate.”
Previously exhibited at Bauhaus Museum Dessau, the project continues at MIT through a graduate workshop and publication.
“Climate Inheritance” is a design research and speculation workshop that investigates how to conceptualize, visualize, project, and narrate the impacts of climate change on World Heritage.
June 24 – October 3, 2021
Bauhaus Museum Dessau, Black Box
COVID-19 nearly brought global tourism and its infrastructures to a standstill. The resulting vacuum offers an opportunity for thinking of ways to address the collective responsibility involved in inheriting a planet amidst climate crisis. For this exhibition, El Hadi Jazairy and Rania Ghosn of Design Earth showcase nine iconic UNESCO world heritage sites as figures of the climate crisis. Their aim is to ground our abstract imagination of the climate crisis in these familiar and symbolically significant places. The case studies also provide crucial examples of a wide range of climate effects, from rising sea levels to species extinction and melting glaciers. Taken together, Climate Inheritance visualizes events and values that divide and define our planetary past and future, including systemic patterns of violence, racism, and displacement.
Rania Ghosn is Associate Professor of architecture and urbanism at MIT and founding partner, with El Hadi Jazairy, of DESIGN EARTH. Ghosn’s research engages the territories of technological systems to address aesthetic and political concerns for architecture and urbanism in the age of the environment. Her scholarship integrates geography in a design methodology that brings together spatial history, geographic representation, speculative design, and public assemblies.
El Hadi Jazairy is Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan and currently Research Scientist at the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism where his research focuses on Urbanism and Energy Systems. He is also the founding partner of the award-winning practice DESIGN EARTH.
Design Earth project team:
El Hadi Jazairy
with initial contributions by:
Perspecta 54: Atopia: “Cautionary Tales for UNESCO World Heritage” (2021)