Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Architecture of Change: Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment

Plant more trees! Done: The Ecoboulevard in Vallesca by Ecosistema Urbano consists of self-sufficient structures named ‘Air Trees’ that consume only what they can produce through photovoltaics. Photo by Emilio P. Doiztua. From Architecture of Change. © Gestalten 2008

from the article,

So it’s a social engagement that you claim architects have. In this context, there’s one quote in the book, from German critic Joachim Fest, saying: First we build our buildings and then the buildings build us. Architects have to think about the people who may populate their buildings. Elsewhere in your book, Klaus Töpfer, former Under Secretary General of the United Nations, refers to the social impact of architecture that he finds underestimated — lsuch as the housing projects in the French banlieue. What do you think?

Architecture is the most dominant artistic practice that we’re confronted with in our daily life. We live in buildings all day; we sleep, we eat, we drink in buildings so it’s really a part of ourselves. And about the quote from Joachim Fest which Klaus Töpfer mentioned in his interview, it’s a very simple understanding which we find in Karl Marx saying design defines the consciousness — where we are and where we live very much imprints on who we are. Meaning this aspect is more than important for architects.
There’s more to architecture than its simple purpose of shelter or protection, a cast to architecture. However they are creating social environments, urban spaces and the public spaces where people actually interact. So they are the catalyst for social interaction, for society to work in. This is a big topic and we can go from dictatorial architecture to that of social engagement.

Art as facet of architecture: Patrick Dougherty’s “Na Hale ‘o waiawi” (2003.) Photo by Paul Kodama. From “Architecture of Change”. © Gestalten 2008

The first pages of the book are designed to inspire with landscape art - “Around the Corner,” also by Patrick Dougherty, 2003. Photo by Doyle Dean. From “Architecture of Change”. © Gestalten 2008

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