“Architecture is no longer simply the play of masses in light. It now embraces the play of digital information in space.” – William J. Mitchell, E-Topia
“We develop the building industry now. We don’t just respond to it.” – Nader Tehrani
Given the current global economic and climate crises, I have difficulty fully embracing the building industry as it inherently manifests its investigations by consuming materials. If designers consider themselves champions of sustainability, conservation and healthy living, how do we re-evaluate this relationship?
Another challenge for architecture is that it takes time to produce a building and it takes even more time for the impact of the design to be felt – if it does at all. Much like government’s inability to nimbly respond to crises like Katrina, it seems that architecture (in the traditional sense) struggles to deal with the “big issues” because it is typically reactionary.
Re-evaluating our choice of materials will allow the profession to confront the most challenging issues of the day with even greater immediacy.
So how do architects remain “space jockeys” and curators of experience if deprived of the atoms they have grown accustomed to using? How can architects and planners re-appropriate the spaces of the built environment they have collectively designed? As the role and responsibilities of the architect have gradually narrowed over time, other disciplines have placed data in various forms, in and around the built environment, and they continue to do so at an ever-increasing rate. Architects should play a part in this process. How can we pre-empt the forces that may impose their Minority Report / Bladerunner dystopias of entire cities of personalized advertisements? (Minority Report Mall Scene) In the shadows of the Comcast acquisition of NBC and as more and more of the human population basks in the blue ambience of computer monitors, how do we remain optimistic, and steer towards the positive and away from an Orwellian future? What is going to be our new medium?
Architecture has always been a presentation format.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” - Alvin Toffler