dRMM champions biodiversity with a dedicated month of events
This month dRMM celebrated biodiversity in recognition of COP15 – the UN biodiversity conference, taking place in Kunming, China between 25 April and 8 May.
Originally signed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and later endorsed by up to 195 countries, the convention’s aim is to unite parties in shared goals to protect diversity of plant and animal species and to ensure that natural resources are used sustainably. COP15 also seeks to achieve “fair and equitable sharing” around benefits derived from natural assets, helping to ensure the indigenous communities and countries that are home to these biological riches benefit from their use.
dRMM is aligned to these pursuits and committed to finding ways within the architecture and construction industry to better highlight and preserve biodiversity. During the month of April, our team has dedicated studio time in the form of CPDs, internal Pin-Up sessions, and knowledge sharing to the subject of biodiversity. One of our key activities was the ‘Envisioning a regenerative future’ forum, where the team set aside an hour to visualise what the future we want and need might look like, using this visioning session to drive conversation about what changes are required imminently to make that future a reality. As part of the discussion, a necessity for increased connectedness with nature in urban places came to the fore, highlighting the role of biodiversity within a regenerative future.
We also spent time in some of the studio members’ own gardens during a dedicated in-house presentation, fostering conversations around the role of green pockets in urban spaces in supporting biodiversity; increased sufficiency in our communities gained through growing your own food; and the need to address issues of privilege and accessibility to green space. As a follow up, the team held a lunchtime studio plant and seed swap to encourage more hands-on engagement with the subject. We welcomed Ben Brace a Landscape Architect, currently based at the Royal Horticultural Society and Michael Cowdy, Director at international landscape and urbanism studio McGregor Coxall to use our regular Friday pin-up sessions as a forum to share their practice and research-based projects.
The discussion on gardens ties to dRMM’s wider design focus on integrating landscape and green space into our built schemes. In our Maggie’s Centre for Oldham, the garden we co-designed with Rupert Muldoon is a central element to the building’s design strategy and has recently been featured on the BBC’s Your Garden Made Perfect as an example of the role of nature in nurturing human health and wellbeing.
As Architects Declare signatories, our studio has pledged to act against the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity erosion. As highlighted by dRMM’s Co-Founding Director Sadie Morgan, we are aware of the gap in action and advocacy for the latter, with issues of biodiversity decline within construction rarely given as much attention as issues around carbon reliance. dRMM’s Biodiversity Month aims to build stronger awareness, knowledge, and conversation on the care of the world’s natural habitats, and how as designers we must do better to not only conserve but to help them thrive. Despite naming the month of April as dedicated to biodiversity awareness, dRMM works hard to champion its cause all year round. Last year, the team published a three-part essay on the life of trees and their role in sustaining wider natural ecosystems. You can read essay, which is titled Treelogy, here.