The city has become an important new starting point in the quest
for architecture. At a time of extreme urbanisation, unharnessed
urban growth has led many architects to rethink the way that
buildings are designed for the global metropolis. It is no longer
practical or desirable to impose the standardised, idealized
planning of the 20th century. Rather than viewing the city as a
fixed entity, architects are now seeking direct inspiration from
the existing urban environment and learning from its ever-changing
state that resists predetermination. The city, in all its
complexity, has become a realm of invention and a space for
possibilities where new designs can be tested. This is as apparent
in the work that architects are undertaking in the informal
settlements, or favelas, of Latin America, as in the more regulated
spaces of Chicago, London or Tokyo. Favouring an inclusive way of
viewing the city, no aspect of the urban world is any longer
rejected outright, and architects and urban designers instead find
potential and learn from the underlying dynamics of the
contemporary city. This attitude highlights the generative
capacities of the city and finds new ways of engaging it. At the
very least, it advances an architectural thinking that engages the
city on its own ground, abets its potential and seeks opportunities
in the existing condition.
- Featured architects: Kunle Adeyemi/NLE, Atelier Bow-Wow,
Jürgen Mayer H, Normal Architecture Office (NAO), Adriaan
Geuze/West 8, Ron Witte/WW, UrbanLab, Sean Lally/Weathers, and
- Key contributors: Keller Easterling, Jiang Jun, Albert Pope,
Michelle Provoost/Crimson, Robert Somol, Kyong Park, Jesse
LeCavalier, Daniela Fabricius and Bernard Tschumi (interview).
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