Fionn Byrne is an assistant professor at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Byrne teaches design courses in the Master of Landscape Architecture and Bachelor of Design programs.
The persistent interest in Byrne’s work is to examine the ethical obligations of the design fields. He contends that all design decisions involve value judgements, that any acts of building in the world are political, and we must continually raise questions of justice when we modify our physical environment. Byrne notes that when most landscape architects design with nature, they adopt an implicit need to act for environmental betterment. Yet, in a world suffering significant environmental challenges, he believes it to be essential to question our deeply held assumptions about the values in and of nature. Through this process, we can articulate a diversity of ethical positions relative to our obligations to nature. Byrne conducts design research in this pursuit, drawing speculative propositions that aim to generate new knowledge, challenge an observer’s preconceptions, and envision alternative futures.