It’s time to rethink the entire role and language of architecture | Cities | The Guardian

As architects, we are living at a time of shifting paradigms. In the past, the scale of our designs grew large, but how many people were we really engaging with? Today, we understand better the sheer complexity of the issues at play when we design and plan buildings, neighbourhoods and even entire cities – and this demands a new, more open approach. It’s why I’m so interested in how architects and urban planners engage with other fields – economics, security, the environment and so on. Our challenge must be to go beyond architecture and speak the languages of these other…

Placemaking 101 Archives – Project for Public Spaces

With community-based participation at its center, an effective Placemaking process capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, and it results in the creation of quality public spaces that contribute to people’s health, happiness, and well being. via Placemaking 101 Archives – Project for Public Spaces.

Architecture Continues To Implode: More Insiders Admit The Profession Is Failing

Architecture is suffering a crisis of confidence. More and more mainstream figures in the field are admitting that the profession has lost its way. As I previously mentioned, Frank Gehry, the world’s most famous architect, recently said that “98% of everything that is built and designed today is pure sh*t. There’s no sense of design, no respect for humanity or for anything else.” Architectural thought-leaders seconded and thirded him. And he’s since been fourthed by another. Last year, recognizing general public’s low opinion of architects, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the trade organization for the profession, launched an effort to “reposition”…

How to Rebuild Architecture – NYTimes.com

IN architecture, everyone’s a critic. One of us, Steven, was recently driving down Elliott Avenue in Charlottesville, Va., his hometown, with his 88-year-old mother. They passed a house designed and built by architecture students at the University of Virginia. To Steven, an architect, this model for affordable housing — a tough pair of stacked boxes, sheathed in corrugated metal — was a bold design statement. But to his mother’s eye, the house was a blight on the landscape, an insult to its historic neighbors. “It looks like somebody piled a couple of boxcars on top of each other, then covered…

Reflections on ‘Responsive Environments’

Within the Joint Centre, therefore, there were three schools of thought; Dutch Structuralism (van Eyck, Hertzberger etc), Anglo Saxon Empiricism (Lynch, Hillier etc) and Latin Rationalism (or Latin American Morphologists which came from an influx of Latin American students into the centre). ‘Responsive Environments’ is an amalgamation of these somewhat disparate philosophies. As Ian Bentley described it “It’s like a mix and match shed that you keep adding bits to, in the end it somehow works but you’re not entirely sure why”. And it does work, the ideas which ‘Responsive Environments’ lays out are very simple – how do you create opportunities…

The Best-Laid Plans [Review of Scott’s Seeing Like a State]

The 20th century has seen many grand schemes for improving the human condition. The collectivization of farming in the Soviet Union, compulsory villagization in Ethiopia and postcolonial Tanzania, the construction of Brasilia according to Le Corbusiers theories of urban planning, Maoist Chinas Great Leap Forward and the self-sufficient rural economy that was the goal of Pol Pots Cambodia were ambitious efforts to better the lot of humankind. The ideas inspiring the schemes and the regimes that attempted them were highly diverse. The human costs of the experiments varied from an immeasurable toll in broken lives in Russia and China to…