Landscape | Architecture | Urbanism
How can design help tackle the climate crisis?
Climate breakdown is the biggest challenge humanity is facing and requires a radical transformation of the design profession to address it. In response to this, Groundlab has teamed up with the Architectural Association to form AA Groundlab, the first design laboratory of the AA residence program.
It aims to investigate ways in which design can help tackle the climate crisis through a diverse range of projects, scales, and stakeholders as well as to test new forms of collaboration. We are producing visualisations and cartographic tools to understand current dynamics of urbanisation so we can project and depict future scenarios and design strategies.
On the one hand, AA Ground lab is working alongside some Latin American countries to visualise ways in which a ‘Just Transition’ to a de-carbonized economy can look like. AA Ground lab hopes to put into action our design skills and create alliances so the transition can be done on social justice GROUNDS. On the other hand, Groundlab sees itself as a design collaborator of the transdisciplinary Green New Deal in the UK teaming up with economic think tanks such as Common-Wealth. If Climate Change is the biggest threat humanity is facing, the Green New Deal is the biggest proposal and plan with the scale and the scope to tackle it.
sustainable solutions for high-risk areas through the understanding and use of natural systems
Whatever form the Green New Deal will take, it will be materialised through infrastructure, buildings, landscapes, and various other built forms. Groundlab is a prototype for a design practice guided by a potential Green New Deal. This requires us to project both: design tools and methodologies with which we can transition to a justly decarbonised economy, and to see ourselves as a design practice operating in environments were fossil fuels are kept well below ‘GROUND.’
visualization of just transitions
to de-carbonized economies
Jose Alfredo Ramirez
Founding Director | London
Architect | Landscape | Urbanist
Jose Alfredo Ramírez is an architect co-founder and director of Groundlab and currently director of the Landscape urbanism MA at the Architectural Association. He studied Architecture in Mexico City and graduate from the AA Landscape Urbanism graduate programme in London 2005. Alfredo has worked and developed projects at the junction of architecture, landscape and urbanism in a variety of contexts such as China, Mexico, Spain, among others. He concentrates mainly in large scale developments like the Olympic Master Plan for London 2012 or the International Horticultural Exhibition in Xian China 2011. He has lectured on the topic of Landscape Urbanism and the work of Groundlab worldwide.
Director | London
Architect | PHD Researcher
Clara Olóriz Sanjuán (PhD) is an educator and practising architect. She co-directs Groundlab with a focus on the design of public spaces and masterplans from a landscape and urban perspective in various international contexts as well as climate change policy projects and research on green infrastructure under the British Council institutional links programme. Currently, she teaches at the AA Landscape Urbanism masters programme. She has been recently awarded with a Graham Foundation grant to publish Landscape as Territory.
founding Director | beijing
Architect | Landscape Urbanist
Eva Castro has been teaching at the AA since 2003 and is also cofounder of Plasma Studio and GroundLab. She studied architecture and urbanism at the Universidad Central de Venezuela and subsequently completed the AA Graduate Design programme with Jeff Kipnis. She won the Next Generation Architects Award, the Young Architect of the Year Award, the ContractWorld Award and the HotDip Galvanising Award. Her work is published and exhibited worldwide.
Architect | Designer | Research Fellow
Daniel Kiss is interested in architectural, landscape and geospatial visual communication of human-influenced environmental domains and their social/political relations depicted on various methods of visuals, diagrams and cartographies. He graduated with Master of Architecture from AA Landscape Urbanism where he developed a project that envisions dynamic forms of designing and managing the Antarctic marine and its resource extraction with an attempt to unfold the commercial krill fishing activities through the models of protection and regulatory systems of global common resources. Previously he worked as an architect in Budapest, Hungary, currently, he is a technical tutor at the AA Landscape Urbanism programme.
Architectural Designer | Research Fellow
Iulia Stefan is an architectural designer and researcher interested in exploring the potential scope and scale of architectural design practice within the context of climate change. She worked previously at Anglia Ruskin University as a Computer Aided Design tutor, teaching digital representation and holds a Masters of Architecture with a First Honours Degree (RIBA part II) at the University of Westminster where she was part of Design Studio 18 exploring the relationship between Architecture, Energy and Matter investigating global issues of material extraction through analysis of dynamic systems at a range of scales in a multi-dimensional space.
Elena Luciano Suastegui
Geoscientist | Landscape Urbanist
Elena Luciano Suastegui is a Mexican geoscientist from UNAM and landscape urbanist. She is currently working in academic environmental research and its translation through territorial design for the AA Ground Lab Residency at the Architectural Association. She is interested in issues related to soil, agency, and the verticality of territories.
Architect | Landscape Urbanist (MSc)
MSc graduated at Architectural Association Landscape Urbanism, London (2021). During the Msc at Polytechnic of Milan in Architecture (graduated with honors, 2019), she won the Abroad Master Thesis Scholarship at the PUC Santiago de Chile, now published “Yuxtaposiciòn Extrema. A symbiotic relationship between the spontaneous settlements and the morphology of the natural context” (Maggioli 2019). Among the work experiences, she took part in the landscape architecture team with Elisa C. Cattaneo in the invitation competition “Budapest Southgate” with Peter Eisenman and DEArchitects and carried out a research period at MS-Lab Milan on the project “TELL ME”.
Camila Arretche is an architect graduated from the School of Architecture and Urban Studies at the Torcuato Di Tella University, currently interested in how systems of local interventions in strategic areas can generate large scale impacts in the context of the imminent increasing pressures due to climate change. She has been teaching assistant in Studio V and VI at Torcuato Di Tella University, and GIS technical tutor for the AA Visiting School in Mexico. She is also research consultant for specific projects at AA Groundlab, where she began working on the Socio Hydrological Vulnerability project in Mexico City.
Rafael Martinez Caldera
Architect | Landscape Urbanist (MSc)
Rafael Martinez Caldera is a Nicaraguan architect based in Taiwan. Currently working at JJPan Architects and collaborating regularly with AA Ground Lab, his professional work has focused on exploring strategies from design centric approaches that improve human environments in the domain of habitability and sustainability. He holds a Master in Landscape Urbanism (MSc) with distinction from the AA, and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Taipei University of Technology.
Past and present staff
Rotem Lewisohn, Raúl Bielsa, Francesca Fiormonte, Silvia Ribot, Jessica Smith, Alexander Prujean, Giovanna Celeghin, Arianne Yunya Tang, Laura Virto Martinez, Nicola Vendramin, Ada Chang Liu, Winnie Zhiyun He, Kate Gong, Gabriela Pulido Palm, Marta Musial, Carmen Frances, Juan Torres, Anna Vyazovskay, Giancarlo Torpiano, Leila Meroue, Daniel Portilla, Laura Riaño, Christina Nearchou, Hana Qijin Huang, Zhuo Li, Marta Postigo, Aleksandra Cicha, Ignacio Gias, Federico Ruberto, Nicola Saladino, Wenwen Wang, Cristina Barrios, Hossein Kachabi, Xiaowei Tong, Marinna de Paula, Rui Liu, Alejandra Bosch, Jorge Ayala, Arturo Lyon, Nadia Kloster, Jose Arnaud Bello, Brendon Carlin, Maria Paez