Architecture of Consequence
Architecture of Consequence began life as the Dutch presentation at the São Paolo Architecture Biennale in 2009, encapsulated the results of “Shape our country!”, the challenge the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) issued to its public over a six-month period in 2008. Formulating responses to fundamental questions of our time is, it seems, everyone’s business. So, with a deluge of proposals, the people of the Netherlands rose to the challenge of pinpointing their needs: 1. new guidelines for food production; 2. sustainable energy sources; 3. solutions for a shortage of space; 4. Less time loss, more quality time; 5. social cohesion; 6. a healthy living environment and 7. the recalibration of economic value. All of the above issues converge in spatial planning and design, an Architecture of Consequence, so to speak. The Netherlands Architecture Institute subsequently selected 22 Dutch architecture firms with genuinely innovative ideas about how to address these seven imperatives. The result was an agenda for the future of our living environment and proof that designers have the creative power to make it happen. Architecture of Consequence proves that any notion that architecture should be an “expression of its time” or should do no more than express the vanity of its commissioners, pales into insignificance when compared with its tremendous potential for resolving urgent societal, and even existential, problems.
Architecture of Consequence
dutch designs of the future
When everything is proceeding smoothly, they are all dull and empty platitudes. 1: People need enough water and food: certainly. 2: They want to be healthy: I can see that. 3: They cannot manage without energy: logical. 4: They need to have sufficient room at their disposal: of course. 5: They also need enough time in their lives to manifest themselves: by all means. 6: And if a number of people are involved, it is important for them to be able to get on well together: that goes without saying. 7: If those people also want to trade with one another to reap the benefit of all those conditions, the books must balance: naturally.
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the consequence of architecture
A skateboarding school in Kabul; a children's community center in southwest Chicago; project row houses in Houston; an open-air library in Salbke-Magdeburg, Germany; colorful murals in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro: what difference do civic architectural projects like these make to the daily lives of the people who use them? Testify! The Consequences of Architecture gathers 30 examples of community-centered architectural projects from all five continents, to demonstrate how architecture can transform the quality of our lives. This is architecture that reveals unexpected possibilities for growing food in urban environments, for creating healthy and sustainable environments, nourishing social networks and establishing real estate value based on new revenue models. Each project is presented with full-color illustrations; texts that concisely analyze the project in terms of context, mission and realization; and an interview with a community member who makes regular use of, or occupies, the relevant building.
Is there anything in today’s society that is still selfevident, that we no longer need to discuss? There’s no simple answer. Situations within our culture in which we can rely on certainties are now rare. Almost nothing can be taken for granted anymore. The language we use, the place we live in, the social class we belong to, the trade we learn, the institutions we work for, virtually everything and everyone find themselves having to
be justified or defended. The big questions are being posed every day: Is what you’re doing actually relevant, challenging, useful, persuasive or inevitable? And will it still be so tomorrow? The outcome of the reality check is often a radical alteration of the situation.
Things are no different for architecture. The complacency with which this profession used to concentrate on producing unique forms and concepts – as well as the attendant publicity – have made way for a renewed interest in the public significance of architecture. At the same time, the unquestionability of the central role the discipline traditionally played in the design and construction of society is fading. As a profession architecture is now facing serious competition from other specialists in the building process.
read the introduction
As sustainability issues intensify the public stake in the built environment, Testify! brings good news from the frontlines of contemporary architectural practice. Among the firms contributing are 2A+P/A (Italy), Atelier d'Architecture Autogérée (France), DHK Architects (South Africa), Architektur + Netzwerk (Germany), Arup Foresight (USA/UK), Cinema Jenin (Palestine), Alejandro Echeverri Arquitectos (Colombia), Haas & Hahn (Netherlands), Li Xiaodong Atelier (China), AT103 (Mexico), DAAR (Palestine), Ecologicstudio (UK), IAN+ (Italy), Studio Gang (USA), Project Row Houses (USA) and Senseable City Laboratory (USA).