I am a firm believer that the qualifications required by the academic establishment are not enough. Continuous education “outside the box” and beyond the established norms are of imminent need. Experts are obsolete in this world where time governs and information is power. Facing this we need: Updated information.Contextualized information.As amateur pedagogue in the Architecture and Design fields, I have discussed among colleagues, the need of training future architects and designers to not just learn and absorb what is already there, but to generate new knowledge as fast as the landscapes we live in , through critical thinking and practice, derived from observing ALL the “territorial tangents“of Architecture and Design.This has been -hitherto- brilliantly accomplished by (just) a few. In other words: In constantly evolving scenarios: How do we constitute ourselves as professional neophytes for neo-landscapes emerging from the ruins of the contemporary? Confining Architecture is definitely not the answer. It will only lead us,well, pretty much to where we are now (look around…there, you got it). The final objective is: to transform our profession and constantly adapt ourselves to the changing territory, as much as we need to. Thus we need mutation, alteration, deviation. The future of Architecture, in my opinion, is to be consequent with our ground of incidence by turning the profession into an evolving practice. But how do we do this?
Maybe because of this continuous (re)search lapse along with the fact that I am an (obvious) enthusiast of the “question format”, I came across “What is the Future of Architecture?” publication by Crap is Good : a project initiated and commanded by Pieterjan Grandry. I bought the book via Crap is Good website and when I asked ( via Facebook) what was going on with the delivery delay, Pieterjan confessed me that he had mistakenly sent my book from Germany to Mexico, by boat! It was a hilarious moment, and I immediately thought, a review was in order.
Since last December when I finally received my Transatlantic book, I´ve read it three times. Each time, it has become a journey of not only the usual interaction one has with a book, but also an interaction that triggered parallel research in various fields such as archeology, networking, geriatrics, to name a few. Why? Pieterjan Grandry gathered in this book, 53 answers to the question “What is the future of Architecture?” (submitted in an open-call made from June 1st. until September the 30th. of 2012) and assembled an amazing cartography of forth-coming possibilities beyond the boundaries of the Architecture profession. The answers oscillate between flamboyant nihilisms and concepts and modest suggestions on how to operate nowadays to embrace the architectural future. The points of view are various: from the always impeccable and inspiring ideas of Aristide Antonas, deviating the answer to fields like Politics, Internet,Video Games… to unknown visionaries (at least for me) like Yorgos Rimenidis addressing topics like Herstory, the performative need of “Architecture readings without punctuations” and even raising discussions by provocative questionings of wether Architecture and the city will be of any significance in the future. But beyond the diversity and accuracy of the submitted answers, something caught my eye. Most of these 53 visionaries, placed their thoughts regarding Architecture in the urban sphere, looking at the whole: content, container and users, rather than envisioning future Architecture as an art piece or an isolated totem restrained by design. The urban dominates almost all of the answers. So should the book have been called “What is the future of the Urban Landscape / Cities / the virtual / Politics / Global Financial Volatility / Social Issues ?” I don´t think so. My guess is that, finally, that urgent need to redefine the Architectural Practice has witnessed its first output: these 53 fragments of thoughts are very likely to be the firsts answers to a question I once raised.
Generating a constant dialogue between writers and reader , new ideas, new thoughts, deviations and even more questions take place by just turning a page. These pages, en masse, took me on an exploration along brand new tangents of thinking about the future of spatiality, cities, landscapes and life itself, encompassing the Architecture field ( and surprisingly not the other way around).
“What is the Future of Architecture?” is a new learning device and survival kit for this state of emergency and our inevitable future.
+ Special thanks to Nick Kauffman for being an amazing editor of this blog and a great friend !