Architecture is not for selected few but EVERYONE. The upper 1% can buy with their wealth, the bottom 5% are taken care of by the government. The challenge for each architect is to also serve the middle from the bottom 5% to the upper 1%. That is social justice in architecture.
If Disneyland is to Apple Macintosh in its integrated design, Las Vegas is to IBM PC in its open-source method. But both employ Robert Venturi’s “ugly and ordinary” design approach.
Creativity is to solve design problems, not to creatively force the realization of a heroic design ideal.
We expect our buildings to be flexible and adaptable but fail to recognize that we, humans, are the most adaptable creature. Architecture is heavy and static and, therefore, shall not be expected to be able to be changed too much without significant intervention.
London is historic, Paris is grand, and Basel is organized.
Although COVID-19 devastates the world in so many ways, the bright side of it shows that human activities do impact the environment and that nature is capable of self-healing. We see this in the evidence of lower pollution numbers in our air and water. It also proves that working remotely, consume less, commute less, focus on meaningful human interaction can be done. We have learned our lesson and, when we are out of this pandemic, we should retain those good habits to make the world a better place in the future.
BLACK LIVES MATTER as any other life. Our problems are not black and white but grey. Architecturally speaking, those are areas where buildings are rubbed and carved out by public spaces. Those are where tolerance and democracy can flourish and, we, architects are responsible for creating such spaces. That is a space where we can interact, exchange thoughts, and listen to one another to gain an understanding of different perspectives so tolerance can thrive. This kind of space is ultimately an urban space, a public space (streets, parks, facades where buildings interact with sidewalks/public spaces). We need to care for these spaces. Otherwise, the gap between us will widen.
Recent protests on issues of race and inequalities were staged in public spaces: our streets, parks, plazas, bordered by our buildings. While tolerance is built by understanding each other through listening to others, done as individual human beings, the result is a democracy that takes place in public spaces. Our behavior in these spaces defines how successful democracy will be. Thus, the design and quality of these spaces, undoubtedly, influence our behavior. We learned about listening from Slim’s Table by Mitchell Duneier. We learned how we instinctively behave on the street when faced with a perceived danger in Street Etiquette and Street Wisdom by Elijah Anderson. We learned how buildings can contribute negatively to our streets in Fortress L.A. by Mike Davis. We learned how we can collectively contribute to segregation in Community Becomes Uncivilized by Richard Sennett. We learned how we prepare and deal with potential negative experiences on our streets in The Uses of Sidewalk by Jane Jacobs. Now it is time we care about our public spaces and apply what we have learned to design these spaces so democracy can flourish and spread out.
Between three east Asian traditional architecture of China, Korea, and Japan, the most ornate and decorative is Chinese, followed by Korea and Japan being the least. That is why Japanese architecture can accept and adopt the idea of modernism well, especially minimalism.
Non-fungible token (NFT) and now metaverse open a new world for the architecture profession. In the old days, architecture is physical. It branches off to include movie sets (miniature or full size), still physical, and then to virtual world of digital sets in science fiction movies and video games. Metaverse is different that it offers us to experience space and architecture with our own freedom without riding in the script of a movie or video game. It still looks cartoonish now (remember Nintendo wii) but it will eventually reach to a point where it represents our physical world and/or other worldly beyond. All of those seems exciting and provides our profession with a new site to design architecture in and it will secure the future of the profession. However, what will the social impact be when our design is not bound to physical budget (materials, labor) but our time and fee to produce? Will this mean more affordable virtual architecture that can be enjoyed by more? What kind of context (certainly not physical ones) we need to think about when we design? What conceptual idea is needed when we are given a tabula rasa? Will there still be segregation in metaverse where the rich can only access a different world than the rest of us stuck in more affordable metaverse? What will the public space like piazza or plaza look like? Will the poor and technologically handicapped be left behind? Will metaverse allow democracy to flourish or sequester it?
The greatest gift architects can give our clients is the added value of their design while they live in and the increased property value when they sell. The increased property value would be much more than the assessed value and beyond the fee they paid for. This could be one of the ways to close the wealth gap.
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