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    World-destroying Architects Wanted

    David C. McFadden
    Nov 7, '22 3:53 PM EST

    What started as a comment has become a short post in response to an opinion article by Adam Greenfield in the current edition of Dezeen online titled “All those complicit in Neom’s design and construction are already destroyers of worlds.”

    In Sum.

    • Adam Greenfield’s opinion article titled “All those complicit in Neom’s design and construction are already destroyers of worlds” argues that anyone who accepts money to work on any aspect of the Neom project is automatically complicit in everything that the project does.

    • I disagree with this opinion. I believe that everyone is responsible for choosing which parts they work on and to what extent. If they are not comfortable with a particular aspect of the project, they can always decline to work on it or limit their involvement.

    • Architecture is often seen as a symbol of power and authority, but it can also be seen as a reflection of the political and economic ideologies of the society in which it is built. In some cases, architecture may even help to shape these ideologies.

    • The author paints architects who accept commissions with a broad brush when reality shows that many architects are conscious of ethical implications in their projects.

    I disagree that if you accept money to work on any aspect of the Neom project, you need to know that you are complicit. I believe in and support many parts of the project, and I would gladly accept compensation for my work on those aspects. I do not think that taking money makes me automatically complicit in everything that the project does; it is my responsibility to choose which parts I work on and to what extent. If I am not comfortable with a particular aspect of the project, I can always decline to work on it or limit my involvement. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not they want to accept money to work on the Neom.

    Architecture is often seen as a symbol of power and authority. This is especially true of traditional, classical architecture, which is often associated with authoritarian regimes such as the Roman Empire or the British monarchy. However, architecture is also drawn to capitalist and socialist governments. In capitalist societies, architecture is often seen as a way to make money and attract investment. In contrast, in socialist societies, it is seen as a way to improve the lives of citizens and promote equality.

    Architecture can therefore be seen as a reflection of the political and economic ideologies of the society in which it is built. In some cases, architecture may even help to shape these ideologies. For example, the Bauhaus design school was founded in Germany in the 1920s to combine art and industry. This was when the country was undergoing a period of political and economic change, and the Bauhaus school helped shape the new German identity. Similarly, post-modern architecture emerged in the 1970s as a reaction to the modernist movement dominating architecture.

    Noem’s cutting-edge Line project is about new tech and inventions to tackle global warming, setting a new benchmark for future urban cities. The developers and architects are a small part of the project team, which includes futurists, scientists, inventors, engineers, and artists. Their innovative approach means that the line project will not contribute to global warming but instead help fight it. This is a crucial step in the right direction. The Neom team is passionate about making a difference and ensuring that our planet has a bright future. We believe that through technology and innovation, we can make this happen.

    The author paints the architects that accept commissions with a broad brush when the reality is much more nuanced. As such, it is essential to consider the ethical implications of their work. This includes whether or not they are contributing to the displacement of indigenous peoples or exacerbating climate change.

    While it is easy to paint all architects and the commissions they earn with a broad brush, the reality is much more nuanced. Many architects are conscious of the ethical implications of their work and make an effort to minimize the negative impact of their projects.

    It is essential to hold all architects accountable for the societal implications of their work. But it is also important to remember that not all architects are the same. Some are working to make a positive difference in the world. Knowing that sitting on the sidelines affects nothing Morphosis, Zaha Hadid Architects and other studios committed to the Neom project can sleep well tonight.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    After working at various design practices on a full-time and freelance basis and starting his design firm, David McFadden saw a gap to fill in the industry. In 1984, he created an expansive hub for architects and hiring firms to sync up, complete projects, and mutually benefit. That hub was Consulting For Architects Inc., which enabled architects to find meaningful design work while freeing hiring firms from tedious hiring-firing cycles. This departure from the traditional, more rigid style of employer-employee relations was just what the industry needed – flexibility and adaption to current work circumstances. David has successfully advised his clients and staff through the trials and tribulations of four recessions – the early ’80s, the early ’90s, the early 2000s, the Great Recession of 2007, and the Pandemic.



     
    • 5 Comments

    • citizen

      Most of us have probably had one or two instructors who destroyed their little part of the world every single day.

      Nov 11, 22 8:09 pm  · 
       · 
      yomthorke

      Lmao what a load of the same old capitalist nonsense. You can pretend to separate the politics from the architecture as much as you want, and keep kidding yourself to help you sleep at night, but those two do not function in a vacuum. Accepting this project enables and empowers the same power structures to carry on their systematic decimation of nature and utter disregard for human life. This isn't a case of "Well, even if it did cause environmental destruction, our heart's in the right place". It's a cycle that feeds into itself again and again. You can't say one doesn't impact the other. 

      Nov 14, 22 2:58 pm  · 
      4  · 
      x-jla

      "Environmental destruction". Everything we do causes environmental destruction if you define "environment" as something excluding humans and human habitats. I think we need to stop this religious like idea that we are not part of nature...like it's something outside of us...We are nature. The western religious idea that we are outside of the natural sphere has bleed over into the environmental movement, which is translating into some anti-humanist ideology. There are plenty of things wrong with accepting work for the SA state, but the environmental argument is the least of them imo.

      Dec 3, 22 5:05 pm  · 
      1  ·  1
      sameolddoctor

      "Their innovative approach means that the line project will not contribute to global warming but instead help fight it."

      I would love to know how a 170km long, tall building will not contribute to global warming? What are the HVAC loads of a building like this? What about water consumption and the ecologies destroyed in making this Great Wall of Saudi?

      Lets not kid ourselves, it is all about the money for these architects and those that work for them.

      Nov 14, 22 3:04 pm  · 
      4  · 
      x-jla

      "Lets not kid ourselves, it is all about the money for these architects and those that work for them." Don't underestimate the draw of glory and ego. I dont buy the idea that money is the main driving force for creative types, even the starchitects.

      Dec 3, 22 4:50 pm  · 
       · 

      They wouldn't do it for free though. Money is a driving factor.

      Feb 14, 23 2:03 pm  · 
      2  · 

      Something like 25 years ago I heard a rumor that I'll repeat here: there was some South American large "new city" type development that a bunch of famous architects got invited to design pieces of. Rumor is that TWBTA were asked to do the cock-fighting ring.

      Now at the time (age 30), discussing it with my colleagues,  I felt that had I been the one to be awarded a cock-fighting commission, I would have gritted my teeth and done it, thinking that the opportunity to have my name associated with an important project was important enough to override my squeamishness, that my little piece of it wasn't going to change anything. 

      At age 56 I know I would *definitely* say no. Nothing would be worth the lack of sleep I'd get for the rest of my life knowing that I'd assisted in chicken torture for fun. 

      The commonly-held belief used to be that people get more conservative as they get older. These days I don't think that's true; I see my peers getting more radical. Is that because the world is so messed up now?

      You're not talking about chickens, Mr. McFadden, but humans. Humans *can* choose to either actively contribute to making the world better, or passively brush off the implications of their decisions to go along with the flow without accepting any responsibility. I hope none of the architects involved in The Line get a good nights sleep.

      Feb 15, 23 1:42 pm  · 
      2  · 
      Archinect

      The list of projects for the new satellite city -- on a 750-acre swath of farmland just beyond Guadalajara's beltway -- reads like a lifetime supply of dream jobs: In addition to a possible contribution by Mr. Gehry (who remains undecided), plans call for an entertainment complex by Wolf Prix, a partner in the architecture firm Coop Himmelblau in Vienna; a contemporary art museum by Toyo Ito of Japan; a 25,000-seat amphitheater by the New York team of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien; a hotel and 80 units of housing by Stephen Holl of New York; a fairground landscape by Carme Pinos of Barcelona, and a state-of-the-art convention center by Enrique Norten of Mexico City, who is also overseeing the design of the site plan and acting as the overall talent coordinator.

      Daniel Libeskind, the American architect living in Berlin whose first building, the Felix Nussbaum Museum, opened in Osnabruck, Germany, in July, is working on what the project's organizers call a University of Success, to house departments of education, government and architecture. Thom Mayne, the impresario behind the Santa Monica firm Morphosis, is designing a ''palenque,'' a traditional Mexican cockfighting ring to be used also for bloodless concerts and sporting events. And on a site near the center of the project, the French architect Jean Nouvel is to design a new headquarters for Omnilife.

      https://www.nytimes.com/1998/1...

      Feb 15, 23 3:13 pm  · 
      1  · 

      Wow, Archinect, you guys are like super spies or the CIA or something! Or maybe you're more like librarians - my friend the architectural historian always says "Never piss off the archivist, or you'll live with it forever." 

      Feb 21, 23 5:25 pm  · 
      2  · 

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