"I'd say, socially, economically and geographically responsive architecture will trump 'all' and be the movement

in the first quarter of this century."

Oct 6, 08 7:48 pm

I agree. That's why I think Neeson Murcutt's five dock house is both so instructive and important. Take a suburban lot and put 2 wonderful, livable houses on a lot where there was one:

It is the end of the McMansion Era!!!

Oct 6, 08 7:59 pm
vado retro

i'd say that with the sudden drop in oil prices that we'll be back in those suvs in no time that is if we can get the car loan that is...

Oct 6, 08 8:55 pm

...but maybe suv's'll have some of that photovoltaic paint by then!

Oct 6, 08 9:00 pm

i'm trying to push the 350 small block around the corner so i can sell it

Oct 6, 08 9:00 pm
vado retro

i tell ya i just watched bullitt the other night and damned muscle cars are fun...

Oct 6, 08 9:02 pm

I have hope that we can do good.

Oct 6, 08 9:53 pm

Depends on if oil stays high and/or financial markets/situation gets worse quickly or slowly...

Oct 6, 08 10:46 pm

Orhan, is the quote from you?

Oct 6, 08 10:46 pm

yes, the quote is mine. but certainly there are some variations out there by others. it is not meant to be a reaction to the recent financial crisis or oil prices although those factors for sure will play indirect role.
mainly it is the housing, jobs and migration to cities and greener postures en mass, for survival. we are far from signature architecture pieces to solve or accommodate those urgencies and they are far from considering these elements and facts in their client gatherings and responses. in short, for now.

Oct 6, 08 11:17 pm

well, you've definitely got some high-profile backup for your position. the current arch record cover proclaims 'buildings get REAL - design with conscience'.

hitting the cover of arch record: that either means it's the future or it's almost dead.

Oct 7, 08 7:25 am
chatter of clouds

wishful trumpeting.

how polite of the architect to: fuck context instead of to:fuck everyone else.

trade one dogma for another ... but *snap* "i don't care, this is my piece of heaven; its property lines are the silhouette of my person."

Oct 7, 08 7:48 am

This is something I'm very interested in—after a decade when showy, contextless architecture trumped all (see Libeskind's Denver project, et al.)

How about some intellectual resources to back up the argument? I'll start:

There's an interesting book called "Architectural Regionalism" edited by Vincent Canizaro.

"The Landscape Urbanism Reader" edited by Charles Waldheim.

A great book called "Sprawltown" by Richard Ingersoll.

Any others?

Oct 7, 08 9:35 am

dross scape by alan berger

Oct 7, 08 10:05 am

"I'd say, socially, economically and geographically responsive architecture will trump 'all' and be the movement."

To me, this is one of the most exciting reasons to be in architecture today. It marks a shift away from style-driven to substance-driven design. 'Ism' this, 'ism' that. Driven in part by environmental, economic, social concerns and contextual relevance we may finally move beyond this public notion of 'applied architecture' (= ornamentation) to something with a more qualitative AND quantitative impact on our world...

Oct 7, 08 11:25 am

Tree and farwest1,

A Manual for the Machinic Landscape and Harvard Design Magazine Spring/Summer 2008 "Can Designers Improve Life in Non-Formal Cities?" and Manufactured Sites; Rethinking the Post-Industrial Landscape, Ed. Niall Kirkwood et al......

Oct 7, 08 11:27 am

Sorry, i think we'll continue to be playthings of the rich and the tasteless...

Oct 7, 08 11:30 am

Agreed, there will always be that component.

but thanks to new technologies/methodologies such as open-source networks, integrated software, and the overall flattening the world...our entrepreneurial potential and the choice of who we serve is increasingly up to us.

Oct 7, 08 11:37 am

there are some related passeges and comments in heather ring's feature above.

Oct 7, 08 11:39 am
vado retro

also, the doorn manifesto from 19 fucking 54.

Oct 7, 08 11:52 am

"The ’big schools‘ of thought, such as marxism and critical theory,"

I really hate this stuff because it's some of the most intellectually lazy stuff that I have ever encountered. The buzz word "post-industrial" is so overused it has become a cliché.

There are plenty of serious minds who are neither marxists not critical theorists. There's more to the humanities than these areas.

What other options are there?

Oct 7, 08 12:00 pm

I hope so... some of this new focus bothers me a little, though. there are many architects and organizations that have been doing this kind of work for decades, and I think they are being overlooked in favor of the beautiful people who are doing it because it's the next big thing.

I think the current movement should be about giving communities the tools to shape their own environment (thus subverting the traditional role of the architect). "responsible design" is becoming a cliche - most of what falls under this category is still about keeping control in the hands of architects (and the wealthy) except we get to "feel good" about our work.

Oct 7, 08 4:09 pm

not to sound elitist but, as lb noted recently, architects DO know some things that other people haven't learned. i don't even know what 'giving communities the tools to shape their own environment' might mean except that i could be pretty sure that individuals wouldn't feel bound by any of the professional/ethical worries that architects have. they'd feel free to act in their own interest only.

Oct 7, 08 4:24 pm
vado retro

architects need to return to being social engineers. normal people don't know what the hell they need.

Oct 7, 08 4:26 pm

well, in that case, we'd need some authority and a way to enforce it...

Oct 7, 08 4:28 pm
Aaron Plewke
What's the greatest threat to architecture?
Its lack of relevance to contemporary life. Architecture has become more about spectacle than buildings.

-David Adjaye, in the news

Oct 7, 08 4:40 pm
liberty bell

Actually Steven, your last statement about community users - they'd feel free to act in their own interest only - can also be applied to large scale suburban housing developers, right? They're acting in their own financial interest, not the interests of the larger community, the environment, the civic context....

Not sure where I'm going with this. But hell yes, give me authority and I'll make utopia. My utopia. You can all live there.

Oct 7, 08 4:50 pm

Since one quarter of the first quarter of the 21st century is already over, what are the socially responsive, economically responsive and/or geographically responsive architectures already operating?

Since I seem to no longer receive notification when someone replies I may no longer reply as well.

Oct 7, 08 5:03 pm

And has architecture really become more about spectacle than building? And if so, are architects blameless?

Oct 7, 08 5:07 pm

make, the end of the sentence you quoted from footprint:

" longer seem able to structure the humanities across disciplinary boundaries. "

so, they are agreeing with you. they are saying marxism and critical theory are no longer valid, and calling for agency in architecture.

or am i misunderstanding you? it seems you are critiquing footprint for exactly what it is trying to denounce.

Oct 7, 08 5:19 pm
Aaron Plewke

Yes, I think there is truth to the notion expressed by Adjaye (in the above quote).

and No, of course architects are not blameless. Perhaps architects can't be held primarily responsible, but at minimum we/they are complicit.

Oct 7, 08 5:47 pm

the biggest threat to design professionals is folks creating stuff in 2nd life and then thinking it can work in the physical world. the next biggest threats are realtors and contractors.

Oct 7, 08 6:11 pm

i think adjaye's comment is only true in the rarefied air of signature design architects. down here in the normal profession there's very little spectacle. the budgets are so thin we work hard to make some kind of alchemical affect, attempting to turn things like cmu and metal siding into something more than it is.

i saw an adjaye building published in which the article cited the relatively low budget of $__ million which, when divided out, amounted to over $500/sf.

Oct 7, 08 6:15 pm

treekiller, who are these folks creating stuff in 2nd life and then thinking it can work in the physical world? Surely their numbers must be legion to constitute the biggest threat.

Oct 7, 08 6:18 pm

hah, that is the truth steven. i think he is talking about a subset of architecture, including his fine self (just barely) but not much of what most architects are up to.

i would like to think orhan is right, but i am far too cynical to believe it. whenever people have the freedom to shape their future inevitably the tragedy of the commons prevails. there is a tendency to trust in common people, but there is no reason to think common people are any less selfish than the wizards of wall street. so i don't think anything grass-rooty is going to be the solution (it might help, but will take bigger players to really have an effect).

in the end the great architecture of the future, by whatever definition, will depend on having great patrons. architects are not (nor have we EVER been) in a position to define the future, nor the present for that matter.

all the vision and imagination brought to bear on our problems is worthless without the money and the financing to back it up. political will could also help. so if we want orhan's vision to come true then we need to find and support the patrons that can make it happen. either that or we BECOME those patrons. so if you are in architecture school now, why not switch to poli-sci, law and economics but don't forget you love architecture. then start from there. otherwise i am guessing the archi-visions will have no more effect than archigram did on the wider world.

it sure would be nice to be more than a reflection of society, but without money and political power i can't see how. i suppose that is why i admire cameron sinclair so much. he made the decision to take on the political system and acquire some power for himself so that he can have a real effect. short of that i don't see any of the above ever coming true...

Oct 7, 08 7:14 pm
chatter of clouds

but adjaye's work is a spectacle. just because its an en vogue ’respectable’ spectacle does not make it not a spectacle. and really, I find yielding this sort of description as an attack quite obsequious of the architect, part of whose job is to turn shelter into something of a spectacle, in submitting her/his profession, by proxy, to an unquestioned pejorative mainstream cliché.

i'm with arch.incriticalcondition on this folded one: And if so, are architects blameless?

Oct 8, 08 4:54 am

i am talking about systems/analytical and historical descriptions/ideas like this one (great breakdown by varnelis, btw) coming to a new chapter because of these kind of demographically powerful and unprecedented developments.

more so than a 'blame,' it is the location of architects and architecture told in above article by varnelis.

Oct 8, 08 5:45 am
chatter of clouds


i failt to understand how you forge a convincing link between 'couture' architecture and slums.

i consider the concern with slums to be, primarily , an ethical one. whereas, i understand that the "slum aesthetic" might be appealing in its impromptu usage of materials, i can't understand why one would fetishize the aesthetic and allow it to eclipse the more ethical problem of societal disenfranchisement. in fact, this way of drawing comparison between gung-ho urban youth who can afford to create their identity vis a vis clothing and architecture and the poor living in slum whose indentity is largely a default of slum conditions on the basis of aesthetics a bit vulgar and unrealistic.

furthermore, i don't see why this is the, or should be, the 'location' of architects. for ick's sake, the author of the essay cited only one kinda-sorta architectural example and at that, a student's speculative project whislt referring to a whole history of fashion. whilst meaning no offense to that student, i hardly find that a credible indication of things-to-come.

personally, i consider this abstraction of the future, this will to see one future in one movement, this wishful optimistic trumpeting of one case of "should be" to be naive and unrealistic.

Oct 8, 08 6:24 am

i would like to see some examples of building not socially, economically and geographically responsive architecture...

Oct 8, 08 6:57 am
chatter of clouds

further to the above, its one thing to socially, economically and geographically responsive and quite another to be lifestyle-responsive. .

Oct 8, 08 7:05 am

life-style for the poor/rich is also socially responsive... if that's the intention of this thread, or at least judging at the first photo.

Oct 8, 08 7:14 am

the sub-prime houses are the extremes of building socially, economically and geographically responsive architecture... however, not done by architects.

Oct 8, 08 7:18 am
chatter of clouds

life-style can be so very socially and geographically non-responsive. you would only have to observe me for a week to ascertain that. perhaps, being economically responsive is my only responsivity.

Oct 8, 08 7:48 am

noctilucent, I think this supposition in the thread is also about invoking compassion for the same "societal(ly) disenfranchised." I can see how a critic would not prefer to see the usual glamour of Architectural trendiness accused of meddling in real global humanitarian crisis', yet I appreciate Orhan's observational courage. Environmental, societal, and geographical problems met with a new generation of altruistically minded free thinkers, is what the world needs and design realms will embody an age of optimism. Call me young and naive (but this thread speaks t o why I even bother with Architecture at all).

Oct 8, 08 8:47 am

in general i don't have much faith in architects. professors like mockbee have the possibility to work for the common person and not go bankrupt but for most architects i am not so sure how it would be possible. maybe it is time to rethink the business model...?

the article orhan gave us speaks of YSL picking up the street clothes and spinning them into fashion not for the rich but for the expanding middle class - which was quickly becoming an important new market (actually that last bit was not mentioned in the article, but its still true). the focus shifted from the rich to the not-so-rich, bottom-up all the way. except i don't think anyone at the actual bottom was actually helped.

which is more worrying. if all we can see is some interesting typologies in the slums then we (as a profession) have serious problems. not that i think that is orhan's intent, but sometimes when reading articles about such places i wonder. which is i guess what noctilucent was asking...

Oct 8, 08 10:41 am
chatter of clouds

jump bottom-up all the way. except i don't think anyone at the actual bottom was actually helped.

even that conjecture would be a contentious one. how about this: the top mimics the bottom, deceiving the bottom into thinking that its now at the top, thereby reinforcing, now in a complete mass fashion instead of the former select few, the supreme dominance of the top. The top, here, being ultimately capital. I, as a consumer, am still paying to don myself with an identity; whether its more en vogue to look street or to look chic, this is merely merchandised content for the fashion machine. i’m not taking the role of a die-hard leftists here, but lets not pretend its only a bottom-up world just coz the bottoms outnumber the tops *wink wink*

Oct 8, 08 11:02 am
chatter of clouds

and if i tell my palestinian neighbours in their refuge camp that their condition is a cure to the malaise of modernism, i'm sure they won't be throwing rotten eggs at me.

Oct 8, 08 11:08 am
chatter of clouds

or altrusitically reveal to my grandma's new sri lankan maid that her family's squalid conditions back home is the future of printed designer t-shrit fashion.

Oct 8, 08 11:13 am

"sociaty, economy and geography",
what is common between them?

Each of these terms represents too different and general category.

Are you guys trying to express "impacts" on architecture without architecture itself?

Okay that's fine, but don't pretend being "socialists" or "economists".

They cannot even explain their own fields as well as the world.

Oct 8, 08 12:39 pm

Pretending belonging to other professions is the reason that architects now look too silly.

Oct 8, 08 12:43 pm

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