The Architects Climate Action Network (ACAN) claimed that Foster + Partners' involvement with Amaala, a private airport in Saudi Arabia, is incompatible with the practice's position as a founding signatory of Architects Declare – a network of practices supposedly committed to tackling the climate emergency.
"Our network strongly believes that UK architecture practices should not be working to expand aviation in the midst of this climate emergency," ACAN explained in a letter to Foster + Partners.
Readers also debated the topic in this week's comments update – while some sided with ACAN, others argued that Foster + Partners pulling out will "not solve the problem".
In contrast, Apple made promises this week to become carbon neutral in the next decade. The US tech company said that its global corporate operations are already carbon neutral but wants its entire business, including all of its devices, to have a net-zero climate impact by 2030.
"With our commitment to carbon neutrality, we hope to be a ripple in the pond that creates a much larger change," said Apple's CEO, Tim Cook.
The Architectural Association continued to be under fire as Elia Zenghelis, a former teacher at the London school, came forward to say that its governing council should resign for its "inept and obviously prejudiced" sacking of director Eva Franch i Gilabert.
Meanwhile, over at the Rhode Island School of Design, president Rosanne Somerson announced a series of initiatives to address the racism that has "pervaded systems and structures at RISD for decades".
Following pressure from both students and staff, Somerson said the school is "committing to a new set of actions to inspire a better RISD – a RISD where students, faculty and staff of all races, ethnicities and cultures are supported, nourished and honored without the impediments of systemic racism."
Tensions also rose elsewhere in the architecture and design sphere as the Section of Architectural Workers accused UK architecture studios of cutting pay and illegally making staff work while furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) also issued warnings this week that the UK government's plans to extend permitted development rights will produce tiny "sub-standard homes".
"The extension of this policy is truly disgraceful," said RIBA's president Alan Jones.