As the first month of 2016 draws to a close, we decided to tap into our network and ask an esteemed group of architects, critics, theorists and educators to tell us what they are looking forward to this year in architecture.
What are you looking forward to in architecture this year?
I believe architecture's in a great place at the moment and communication is faster than ever – it's really creating an awareness and thoughtfulness on the part of architects everywhere. There's a search for what's meaningful and appropriate to the place, and for the most straightforward, simplest way to express architectural ideas. There's an extraordinary amount of innovation and creativity, as well as a return to a search for clarity. We see this not only in America; it's visible all over the world, and I look forward to completing our first projects in eight new countries, including England, Taiwan, Israel, Mexico, and Brazil.
Managing Partner, Richard Meier & Partners
I look forward to some fantastic, dramatic big new buildings such as Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi and Mecanoo's National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts. Ambitious cities are good for architects, but what about how people actually live? We must shift architecture towards a humane socio-economic approach, and a human scale. Inequality is bad and it's increasing. Communities have been low-carbon for millennia and yet we're ripping up their fabric when we could be upgrading and extending it with smart- and eco-technology. We need a new world urbanism. Back in the UK, where I'm based, I want a 'go' on extending Heathrow airport, to preserve jobs and arrest marginalisation on the world trade map. At the same time, it's clear to see how international monies gushing into London have made a travesty of the word regeneration, are driving social cleansing, and creating a city of simultaneous bland and bling. I hope architects will work more for community interests, and less for developers' profits.
National, regional and global attention applied to the rash of knuckle-headed housing spreading like a kitsch carpet of bricks and breeze-blocks around the world and doing its best to undermine and destroy rural life and landscapes. Architects, planners and governments must learn to take rural housing seriously and to work to provide models of how people can live responsibly and graciously in landscapes that need our stewardship and care rather third rate design and a curious desire to turn everywhere from the hems of Shanghai to the floodplains of Suffolk and Somerset into fourth rate suburban sprawl. In 2016, we need to rediscover and reinvent, too, the art and culture of rural housing.
2016 could be a year without architectural cliché. The year when from an ever-growing social awareness, It becomes again a question of matter, shape, composition, air, beauty... and the iconic-formalists give-up looking at themselves in the mirror to finally understand what's going on outside, in a world of upheaval that clamours to be perceived. The year when parametricism finds the renewed typological debate, when typo-staticists meet thermo-dynamicists, and so do parametricists. The year when shape and performance, history and technique, stop being separate fields also in academics. It could even be the year for a deep breath, when a friendly agreement, in a snap, voids green colour from every project presentation. Joy! A solo year of no truism, no formula or prescription, a year for a fully experimental practice. Precisely, the year when Dom-Ino House turns 100.
Principal, Ábalos+Sentkiewicz; Chair of the Department of Architecture at Harvard GSD
Since my aim in architecture is to define contemporary lifestyle in space sustainably, and our resources are becoming less and less, this coming year, there are few projects I am working with focus on several aspects of sustainable issues through studies on materials, spatial and energy efficiency, etc. My hope for this year is that more architects turn their efforts of design from iconic and stylish forms to sustainable functionality.
Founder, Li Xiaodong Atelier; Professor, School of Architecture at Tsinghua University
Tenacity and focus will continue to guide us in 2016 as we aim to quiet the noise that has overtaken the cultural conversation. Whether in the halls of our legislative branch or in our growing social schisms, we are in a time where bluster is privileged over considered discourse. And this had led to a diminishment of a core belief in our abilities to solve problems collectively – something essential for architecture to act as a social art form. To counter this we’ll double down on our commitment to a conversation through architecture on the global stage, not by selling stuff but by changing things; by addressing uncertainty and disorientation with street smarts and optimism. Our work will continue to celebrate the beauty of complexity by focusing on the value of discontinuities, the imperfect and the incongruous. The studio is filled with optimism on this eve of 2016 as we continue to work on projects as far afield as Casablanca, Seoul and Shenzhen. Closer to home we’re completing work on Roosevelt Island and on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. We’ll be seeing the impact of ongoing research at the NOW Institute, with the completion of the first phase of the water infrastructure system in Haiti and of the Los Angeles 2050 sustainable initiative at UCLA.
Founder and Design Director, Morphosis
A new year’s beginning always brings expectations and hope – 2016 is no exception. Especially the following three subjects are on our list. First, the historic COP21 echo should not fall silent. We hope the result in Paris will influence the architectural field in general, and that developers and decision makers will support the responsibility we share. The architectural profession continuously plays a pivotal role in the development of sustainable solutions to the built environment all over the world. The architect’s multidisciplinary skills and ability to apply a holistic view is vital to tackling the extensive climate change challenges. In 2016 this will be even more evident. Secondly, architects know better that anyone how projects involve a process. Today we experience a rising acknowledgement of the advantages in user involvement. By involving various user groups in the development and design process of for instance new public buildings, the local community and end-users will bring new ideas and insightful knowledge into the project, and innovative solutions come to life. This forms the important basis of the social dimension in architecture, it is our hope that this tendency will increase in the years to come. Thirdly, architects provide excellent and functional solutions every day all over the world. However, we should never neglect the artistic and qualitative virtues of architecture. Think about it, architecture frames the life of man. In 2016 we are looking forward to the birth of new courageous architecture that will capture and reflect the human and social thoughts and values of our age.
Founding Partner, schmidt hammer lassen architects
It’s not something you look forward to exactly, but economic conditions in major cities—in Los Angeles, in San Francisco, in New York, in London—are all at a critical point where the question of equitable housing cannot be ignored. It’s a ripe time for architects to experiment with new models for housing. Design, policy, production are all areas of that could benefit from serious rethinking and I’m looking forward to a year of radical reconsideration of the typology.
Critic, Editor, and Curator
Looking forward to architecture as people's shelter, physically and spiritually; more conversations, more collaborations, more cross-pollination and, for sure, more fun.
2016 is going to be a roller coaster of a year in which we will present a totally new way of using glass, it will be amazing; a year of working in new countries and cultures, the fantastic privilege of the global nomads that architects can be. A year of new collaborations, interdisciplinary exchange and to redefine well-known building typologies to make them better, of new research on the future city and of ‘brick and mortar’: as we are currently on site with more than 600,000 m2 and almost 5,000 hectares of urban space. What especially triggers me for 2016 is the need to find new hope. To conquer the pessimism of the latest decennium. The developing markets in Asia allow for a growing middle class world wide and we can start to think of a planet without poverty. We see all over Europe and especially in Germany and Sweden how people show mercy to refugees and create space for them, despite the difficulties that surround them. And after years of bad news we finally saw in Paris how politicians accepted climate change as a real issue they want to fight. In architecture we see that cities start to tackle the massive transformation task to turn our cities with its old tired buildings and environments into exciting urban spaces, and I am looking forward to the renovation, starting this year, of two of those dinosaur-like buildings, in Lyon and Paris.
In 2016 we look forward to continue working on projects with a new relation to nature, not the old romantic escape into the landscape, but nature deeply intertwined via geothermal heating and cooling, natural lighting and water recycling, reminding us why ecology is so important. We envision new architectures with the user inside of nature… provoking what being in nature means to future thinking, while exploring new types of space, geometry and language for architecture.
Principal, Steven Holl Architects
I look forward to architectures that conflict, addressing, unveiling, and resolving contemporary issues. I hope to see architectures that understand conflicts across multiple geographies, from domestic environments to cities, nations, and planetary scales of collective life.
Eva Franch i Gilabert
Executive Director & Chief Curator, Storefront for Art and Architecture
Other notions of BEAUTY
In 2016 Architecture faces a major challenge: reassert new notions of BEAUTY.
VAGINAL DAVIS. BEAUTIES of the unfinished. Those available for transformation.
JUSTIN VIVIAN BOND. BEAUTIES of the inconsistent. Those making possible to add on what already exist; without ambitioning aesthetic, functional or technological unity.
JULIANA HUXTABLE. BEAUTIES of the TRANS. Those impossible to explain as a result of origins, but rather as allies in conflicted trajectories.
FLAWLESS SABRINA. BEAUTIES of the political. Those composed out of difference.
GAYATRI CHAKRAVORTY SPIVAK. BEAUTIES of interescalarity. Those in which bodies, buildings and environments can be coordinated in the pursuit of desire.
bell hooks. BEAUTIES compatible with the imperfect, with the uncertain, risky and uncomfortable; with disobedience and fiction.
Other BEAUTIES, that is what I ask 2016 for!
Founder, Office for Political Innovation
The last decade has seen ascendance of an architecture of stardom and flamboyance, coupled with growing reactions to resultant excesses. I imagine 2016 will continue to usher in a renewed sense and spirit for a more grounded approach – towards what I would call an "architecture of responsibility."
Architect, Principal Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA
I look forward to a major rethinking in how we conceive architecture by the way it affects our emotional state. Architects may use the latest scientific results on the influence that forms, spaces, and surfaces have on our long-term health. That radical change in design perspective will generate an entirely new emotionally-nourishing architecture. Up until now, architects have been too caught up in a global fashion game to notice the scientific revolution occurring in understanding human perception and our visceral connection with the environment. But the evidence has become overwhelming, and pressure has built up from powerful outside agencies, threatening to make the usual image-based architecture irrelevant. At the same time, the hollow icons peddled by arrogant publicity-seeking starchitects will gradually lose favor with a better-informed public. Today’s media darlings could soon be eclipsed by a new generation of practitioners who are genuinely concerned with our well-being.
Professor of Mathematics, Urbanist & Architectural Theorist
I am less excited by any one of the dozens of coming attractions in 2016 than I am by a general development in architectural culture that promises to transform the profession—greatly, and beneficially—in the coming years. The cognitive revolution has thoroughly reshaped our understanding of how people perceive, relate to, and think about their surroundings. Only recently has this begun to inspire serious research programs devoted to examining how the built environment actually affects people’s lives, emotions, and day to day experiences. In the UK, Richard Rogers and Alan Penn (Dean of Bartlett School of Architecture) are leading a research inquiry for the All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group, looking at how architectural and urban design shapes people’s conduct. And Vittorio Gallese, one of the neuroscientists who discovered “mirror neurons” in the brain, is leading the ROOMS research project with Davide Ruzzon of TArch (Venice), compiling data on people’s emotional responses to different design aesthetics. These initiatives herald the beginning of a new era for architecture. Until recently design professionals have relied on intuitions, half-baked assertions, and ideologically-driven agendas in developing an aesthetic language. Soon we will have actual knowledge showing how important aesthetics is to the fabric of our everyday lives.
Sarah Williams Goldhagen
Author, Architecture Critic
After a year of increasing strife, conflict and polarisation across the globe, I am hoping that in 2016, architecture can play its humble part in fostering dialogue and reconciliation. This might sound high-sounding, but I am referring to the creation of venues conducive to human interaction, of spatial ambience that brings about tranquility of mind, of public domains that are democraticized, accessible and de-privileged, and maybe just simply friendly green environments that help remind us of the fragile beauty of what is in our possession. These may be trivial in the greater scheme of global affairs, but they are perhaps ultimately more important than any number of iconic formal gestures or grand architectural statements that we already have in abundance.
Executive Director, Rocco Design Architects
One thing I particularly look forward to in 2016 is the upcoming completion of a number of significant projects—some of them by us, some of them by others—which I would call the ”next generation” of green buildings. Not that they are the second generation, we are probably talking fourth or fifth generation here, but what excites me is how we now see net-zero so widely embraced that we can effectively turn our focus to other things, especially the social dimension and the relation to the surroundings. The projects I am looking forward to see completed take a full-circle approach to the sustainability agenda, balancing performance and efficiency with communal concerns – and not least aesthetics. In a time when there is a pervading sensation of crisis and stress, exaggerated or not, it is all too easy to grasp for quick fixes, but it’s a risky path. Because we have to love our cities and our buildings, if we want them to make a real difference in our society and our lives!
I hope that this year we finally start to challenge a range of orthodoxies that have crippled architecture by portraying humanity as a harmful rather than a creative force:
Thankfully, the word sustainability is fading but is being replaced by the ‘resilience’. At least sustainability seemed to suggest that there might be the possibility of change in the future whereas resilience is a reprehensibly fatalistic doctrine that says we can do nothing except prepare for the worst.
Whenever you hear the phrase "critical thinking", you know that it involves no criticism and very little thought. This year, we have to encourage a genuinely open, challenging exchange of ideas. No more so than with within architectural education where students need the freedom to think and say anything.
Can we have an argument - rather than a mandate - about what ethical architecture and socially-responsible design mean, so that we might make up our own minds.
Stop portraying everyday acts with radical meaning? Cycling, walking are not profound acts.
Gramsci advocated “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will": the difference between what is, and what ought, to happen. The aforementioned problems are deeply entrenched but maybe 2016 is when we start to chip away at them.
Professor, China correspondent for the Architectural Review
I’ve got my eyes on Herzog & de Meuron. This year alone, the Swiss firm is slated to complete the Tate Modern expansion in London—the project I’m looking forward to the most—as well as the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg; Hong Kong’s Central Police Station compound; the 56 Leonard skyscraper in New York; Ian Schrager’s 215 Chrystie, also in New York; the headquarters for the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli in Milan; and the Beirut Terraces residences in Lebanon. Another project I can’t wait to see completed is Phase 2 of Adriaan Geuze and West 8’s Governors Island master plan in New York; the 30-acre scheme features hills that will rise 25 to 70 feet above the island, providing 360-degree views that include the Lower Manhattan skyline. I recently got to tour the Santiago Calatrava World Trade Center Transportation Hub, which is reportedly opening in March, and it’s very clear where the $4 billion went – it’s stunning, a sort of modern-day equivalent to Grand Central Terminal. One of my favorite young architects, Kulapat Yantrasast, and his firm, wHY Architecture, will complete the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, which reopens in March. Another young firm I’m a huge fan of, Paris-based Dorell Ghotmeh Tane, will complete the new Estonian National Museum. I’m also exited to see the opening of David Adjaye’s Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. and Snøhetta’s San Francisco Museum of Modern Art extension. What else? John Pawson’s W hotel and residences in Tel Aviv’s Jaffa port, London Design Museum, and Life House/Tŷ Bywyd project for Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture; Bjarke Ingels’ West 57th Street apartment complex; OMA/Shohei Shigematsu’s Faena Forum in Miami; and Annabelle Selldorf’s Steinway Hall for the piano company Steinway & Sons.
Editor-in-Chief, Surface Magazine
It is in my hopes that ArchDaily would imbue the freshness of New Year's day into the beginning of everyday, thereby allowing readers to experience a world that is designed differently from the one of yesterday. This difference is not to tempt one into a world of unfamiliarity, but instead into a recognizable one filled with endless amounts of unique ideas and possibilities. To me, ArchDaily reinvigorates everyday with the novelty of a new year, filling it with challenges and inspirations.
Founding Partner, Urbanus Architecture & Design
I am looking forward to architecture becoming more socially engaged as the public and politicians realize the great contributions that the field can make to tackling our most pressing societal problems. I hope that this becomes the rule and not seen as the exception undertaken a few firms or not-for-profits or "do-gooders". I am also looking forward to "sustainability" finding a new (and more loved) term and coming back into vogue with full force. It needs to become attractive, beautiful, fun and an expression of solidarity.
Dean of IE School of Architecture and Design; Executive Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize
Steve Jobs and Apple have made us all appreciate the value and impact of user experience (UX). What was once simply a software term has taken on a much greater place in our consciousness. In 2016 we will continue to see the world’s population grow exponentially and further urbanize. One hope for next year is a new level of interplay between people, technology and space. A question for architects is how does UX-type thinking feed back into architectural design. This in no way suggests that design is being reduced to minimalist lines, but rather the opposite, as we are challenged by greater extremes in density, resource use, safety and flow. We’re facing much taller cities, and should expect a new level of innovation in vertical transportation. One of the fastest cars is now powered by battery; and it’s not hard to imagine buildings and public spaces following suit with new networks of power, higher efficiency and smarter controls. We’ve already seen mobile reduce program for “check-in” and reception. What’s next for our mixed-use buildings, cities and the ways we move through them? In 2016, the built environment should lead these adaptations and architects will have an opportunity to introduce new layers of innovation, intelligence and, hopefully—delight—into our work.
Without any doubt 2016 will be the year of architecture events: forums, symposiums, biennales and triennales will fill the calendar on view. Within all this noise, I'm very much looking for the Oslo Architecture Triennale and the After Belonging Agency's curatorial approach. The urgencies in the architecture field are many, but the notions of belonging, citizenship, identity, togetherness, mobility, and going beyond, the problems with the refugees crisis, are located at the front line. The tangible and intangible architectures created by these flows, the material and immaterial infrastructures which allow such complex layers of interactions in any city, require a deep and serious research, that has been developed with a critical overview since the first moment that the theme for the OAT 2016 was launched. In my opinion, this will be a turning point in the way we understand this kind of biennial or triennial events.
Ethel Baraona Pohl
This is the year of the red monkey. I am a red monkey, therefore, more than usual, I am wishing that keeping truthful to my character will bring more fortune. I am thinking of architecture as a form of liquid. What I mean is that all kinds of conflicting desires and goals from the client, builder and architect shall be dissolved into a delightful kind of fresh liquid, which will then become an liquified architecture. Architects often have to say no to some wishes by clients since their desires affect the overall function and form. But I am thinking of accepting all the desires and allowing them to be part of the design energy and motive. As for builders, I have realized through the years that carpenters are very skillful and innovative, if you let them be. I will allow their spontaneous creativity to be incorporated into my architecture. Let there be Spontaneous Architecture, and Architecture of delight.
Founder, Moon Hoon
Answering such a lofty question seemed daunting upon first consideration. What useful perspective, I thought, do I have on the future of architecture? I’m not nearly as plugged in as others are to the trends, happenings, and events within the profession and the practice. Then I remembered these lyrics from “Fear Not of Man,” Mos Def’s introduction to his breakthrough “Black on Both Sides” album:
“… people be askin’ me all the time
‘Yo Mos, what's gettin’ ready to happen with Hip-Hop?’
‘Where do you think Hip-Hop is going?’
I tell ‘em, ‘You know what's gonna happen with Hip-Hop?
Whatever’s happening with us…’
“… so the next time you ask yourself where Hip-Hop is going,
Ask yourself, ‘Where am I going? How am I doing?’”
So while I’d like to imagine that we could collectively generate measurable waves to ameliorate gross underrepresentation of Blacks in architecture—all within a single journey around the sun—I’ll settle for a couple new commissions. Each is an opportunity to make ripples within the discipline.
Sekou Cooke STUDIO
One of our main targets is to develop a frame to recover "optimism" in the process of creation, yet engaging architecture, infrastructure and nature into a new form of collectivism. The near future is driven towards a certain type of resistance. To simply generate progress in 2020s we should resist several phenomena: To resist nostalgia, to resist politics, to resist nature, to resist utopia, to resist egos, to resist beauty, to resist options, to resist consensus, to resist planification, to resist technologies, to resist graphics, to resist speed, to resist medias, to resist publicity. Architecture should generate a new sign of endurance, potentially the only option to reveal future sources of optimism. In 2016, architecture should not always be extra-ordinary. It should reconsider its ability to be ordinary within a new type of collectivism, source of an extra ordinary urbanism. Let's slow down in 2016. What if architecture could help to reconsider a certain type of hope?
Founder, Clément Blanchet Architects
2016 looks like it will to be more empathetic, with more appreciation of real and tangible objects and interactions and an emphasis on better understanding of the plights of others through architecture. In upstate New York: ushered in by the Cornell Council of the Arts is an interdisciplinary Arts Biennial focusing on the cultural production of empathy (beginning in September) and a Fine Arts Library redesign by Wolfgang Tschapeller’s which refocuses our attention on books as objects of value as well as the library as a space for interaction. Beyond New York State, cultural empathy worth checking out in architecture this year is to be found in David Adjaye’s Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, and in Mirosław Nizio’s Mausoleum of the Martyrdom of Polish Villages, Michniów, Poland. I’m looking forward to learning in 2016 who will design the Obama Presidential Library, and I am anxious to find out, in November, to whom the next presidential library will be dedicated, and to considering what kind of architectural language that might demand, and what consequences that might have for cultural empathy in the following 4 years.
I am looking forward to a different worldwide environment of architectural critics – in which critical and independent voices of debate and reflection can emerge above the often unquestioned popular and authoritative voices on the ideas and designs of today. This will help to this discipline to make a diversion from the pressure of politics and capitalism, and a return to the essence of architecture, and the cultivation of humanistic spirit, the dignity, and freedom through great spaces of our collective existence.
2016 marks the opening of the Manetti Shrem Museum at UC Davis. This project is the first ground-up building for SO-IL in the US. It is a building that represents what I look forward to in architecture this year. It is an open structure that is envisioned as a collaborative space for imagination, production and conversation. It has been realized in close dialogue with our partner architect, the builder and the client, and as such is a truly collaborative work.
By the end of 2016, Apple’s new Foster+Partners-designed spaceship headquarters will have landed. And with it will come the next wave of billionaire patrons of architecture. After years spent building seamless digital castles in the clouds, with no tangible presence beyond an icon on your phone’s homescreen, our new scions of industry will turn to architecture as a way to cast their fortunes in concrete. Despite Bill Gates’ worthy enthusiasm for philanthropy, nothing says you’ve made it like a corporate HQ by architecture’s elite. Phase 2 of Gehry’s campus for Facebook will be underway; Heatherwick and BIG’s plans for Google are likely to find a new site; but who next? Who will Tesla, SpaceX, Uber or Palantir turn to to give shape to their dreams? This is what I’m looking forward to finding out in 2016.
Curator of Contemporary Architecture and Urbanism, Victoria and Albert Museum
My wish is that Venice would look at remodelling some of its historic buildings in an effort to bring about thoughtful development that will steer the city away from mass tourism and instead towards industries that could help sustain its local population. The transformation of Venice as a European hub for research institutes and training centres for industry would be ideal. The creation of incubation units for Italian start-up enterprises that would benefit from the international expertise visitors bring to this city would reintroduce the idea of Venice as a trading post once more. I am excited to see what Venezia Cambia 2015 can achieve in 2016. I hope that they will embrace today’s architects as part of their efforts, for it is architects who are often so well positioned to unravel the potential of a place. They should be consulted to this end more often.
Let’s see architects talking more about what the building is actually doing and less in terms of themselves and their ghastly ‘ideas’ and ‘concepts’. I’m reading a lot of Edwardian writing about the small homes of the period and what is very clear is that both architects and critics cared tremendously about the quality of the physical nature of their work and how it contributed to everyday life. They were also unafraid to talk about historical imagery, and also about beauty, a concept that has inexplicably become taboo. There’s nothing wrong with it, you know.
Academic, Kent School of Architecture (UK)
I find it difficult to talk about the future. Even when it only concerns next year. I don’t think the future ever happens, just like the past is never over. There is only the ever-present, a weird condition of our time, in which any notion of history and future seems lost in a form of temporal confusion. It is not clear where we are going, and increasingly less clear where we are coming from. Are we better or worse off than a year, a decade, a half century ago? It is impossible to know the future, now more than ever. When it comes to projections, only the trajectory of the boomerang remains. As far as architecture is concerned, I think it is vain to talk about architecture given everything the world is facing. Architecture is not important. Let’s enjoy it.
Reinier de Graaf
I am looking forward to some flamboyance. Like a young man who looks at himself in the mirror —and for the first time, all at once, in a burst of joy realises just how beautiful he really is—I want to see buildings that simply cannot contain their elation, that touch themselves while everyone looks on because they know how irresistible they are. Buildings that dress-up in ways that show-off their assets to best advantage. Architecture that refuses to fit in, that flatters dull neighbours with its radiant presence. Fullsome façades, voluptuous volumes, transgender skyscrapers and street-level kink. While we still have the chance, let’s get the architectural party started – and don’t forget to dress up and dance.
Adam Nathaniel Furman
Architect, Artist and Writer
Architecture as a profession is currently divided into several camps: the tired starchitects, the uninspired practitioners, the verbose academics, the vintage postmodernists, and the digital masturbators. But a new group is emerging – the strategic entrepreneurs. This group is starting to address the world’s issues – beyond architecture – in meaningful ways, not the superficial gestures we’ve seen in the past. They find opportunities and are able to initiate projects instead of react to client demands. They don’t feign expertise, but are able to assemble teams that can turn ambitions into concrete. They’re scrappy, intelligent, and determined. And they don’t care about the way things are typically done.
Principal, Kyle May; Architect & Editor in Chief, CLOG
2015 was marked by world changing events: attacks in urban centers, massive refugee migration, and a multitude of man-made disasters. Beyond its physicality the social effects of architecture can be vivid. Many suspect that the urban makeup of Paris and its suburban areas contributed to the social alienation that made it possible for the attackers to unleash such violence on their own citizens. These urban events on our doorsteps mean it’s crucial for architects to go beyond producing buildings designed by market forces. If architecture can have negative affects on society, it can certainly have positive ones.
Hopefully, the upcoming Venice Architecture Biennale’s strong social theme will be an indication of a turn towards greater social engagement. We look forward to a stronger emphasis on execution of creative alternatives rather than more renderings of recycled ideas. Exploring temporary structures, mobility, mass-production, modular building systems, and community engagement are just some ways PAO will be affecting social change in 2016.
People's Architecture Office
Shifting From “Architecture for the money game” To “Architecture for the Earth”: here in Vietnam, as is true in many parts of the world, construction projects are driven by demands of economic growth. The act of “design” itself is guided by this economic principle. As the scale of our projects become larger and larger, we understand this more and more. Our greatest question is how to shift from a [Man-centered / Consumptive / Short-term / Capitalistic / Superficial] architecture, to a [Natural / Circulative / Long-term / Symbiotic / Multilayered] architecture. We are trying to discover this answer by understanding “manners to live on the earth” through our daily practice.
Partner, Vo Trong Nghia Architects
In architecture there isn’t a great deal to look forward to this year, at least from a UK perspective. Some interesting projects will be completed, but the old paradox remains - Britain is home to some of the world’s best architects, but culturally has almost no interest in architecture beyond property prices. So in 2016, architecture will most likely remain a tastefully brick-clad footnote to the UK’s housing crisis, currently being actively exacerbated by government policy. By the end of last year however, increasingly insistent rumours were swirling regarding unsellable luxury flats and developers attempting to leave the market, which, along with the prospect of a long-overdue interest rate rise, means things could be about to get much worse.
Author of Last Futures and The Architecture of Failure
Last year had has a main feature the word refugee. I fear that it will be the same one featuring this year and the following. I hope there is a co-star word in the future being built out there, and that is tolerance. What I expect of architecture? I expect it to be tolerant; with less special effect, less megalomania around one of the oldest professions in the world. I also hope that there is less rhetoric and demagogy in using the words refugee and tolerance; participation and sharing when it comes to architecture. The professional role of the architect needs to be rethought and architecture considered as a tool to tackle social problems linked to the contemporary project culture. To search for another way of conceiving architecture, we have to be available and open to expand our knowledge on the role of architecture and on the architect's potential. To open the sphere of action, it means to be tolerant.
Architect, Curator, Author
1. The U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. It features an excellent collection of people, some of the most brilliant minds in our field today. 2. The Oslo Architecture Triennale features a fantastic curatorial team. It will be interesting to see what they do with the exhibition, and what the individuals do after the event. 3. Arata Izosaki, Steven Holl or Peter Eisenman should finally be recognized by the Pritzker. And more importantly, Denise Scott Brown.
In Mexico City the idea that public commissions have to be assigned through invited or open competitions, is slowly becoming a unescapable reality for local politicians and officeholders. This is a big step forward and could signify a serious push forward for an already strong architectural culture in Mexico. The process of implementing this in daily practice is however a hard nut to crack. I predict forthcoming years with lots of difficulties, false starts, good will and wrong turnouts, and serious challenges for both architects and decision makers, … but they should be evaluated as a positive process of learning and adaptation to achieve long-term goals.
PRODUCTORA is looking forward to finish a small community center and museum in a village in Oaxaca and eager to continue the construction of the Cultural Auditorium in Cuernavaca, a project we are realizing in collaboration with Isaac Broid. This step in scale and a switch to public buildings, is a very exciting moment for our office. Regarding our not-for-profit: LIGA, Space for Architecture in Mexico City, just celebrated its 20th exhibition and is currently working on its second book. Soon the Brazilian team VÃO Arquitetos + Marina Canhadas wil install their winning competition entree at our exhibition venue and we are looking forward to see the proposals by S-AR (Monterrey, Mexico), Umwelt (Santiago, Chile) and Lukas Fuster / colectivo Aqua Alta (Asunción, Paraguay) as part of our program for 2016! We are currently also working on a collaboration with Monoambiente from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In defiance of the seemingly irresistible forces poised to dismantle architecture we face the coming year with hope and resolve. While the imperative to support progressive social, political, and environmental agendas are more pressing than ever they risk being merely verbal commitments uninformed by architecture. One hopeful development is the recognition by governments bodies both here and abroad of the architect's unique capacity not only to mediate the complex forces that shape policy but to give them tangible form. If our practice is any indication of a wider trend then 2016 heralds a real turning point for architecture - an emerging sense of agency, not from moving beyond architecture, but arising from within the discipline itself.
Reiser + Umemoto RUR Architecture
What would I like to see happen in the architectural sphere? A cataclysm. An iconocataclysm. I could say I hope for a sudden wave of philanthropy among developers, that’d be good. A new and genuine concern among project sponsors that their stupid building, gazed upon day after day by the rest of us, will be a net gain for the built landscape, a joy. Rather than the dark, featureless money-shaped hole cloaked in generic bullshit it will almost certainly be. In an ideal world I’d like to see collective action and solidarity among architects so that someone could turn down a ruinous, poisonous gig without a fellow professional grabbing it, thus encouraging clients to believe they can get away with anything. In the long term I’d like the impossible: a return to proper fee scales. In the short term I’d settle for the violent destruction of the global economy, a total reset along socialist principles and the establishment of a worldwide movement for civil architecture, with bow ties for the gentlemen and smart trouser suits for the ladies.
Critic and Writer
I'd like to see how new decision-making processes in Spanish cities such as Madrid and Barcelona—each having newly elected left-wing coalition governments that have reshaped the political landscape—fight housing evictions, redistribute wealth, and redefine the role of architecture, and architects, in connection to real estate development and speculation.
Marina Otero Verzier
Head of Research & Design, Het Nieuwe Instituut; Chief Curator, 2016 Oslo Triennale
In 2016, I look forward to more architects getting involved in the design of urban infra-structures or public spaces. In the US, I think architecture will focus more on creating quality (or luxury), integrating arts and culture for smaller-scale developments-especially in the major cities. And with the slow economy in Europe and slow down in China, I look forward to the rise (and recognition) of Latin America as a center of contemporary architecture. EC3 aims to be a part of this projection.
Creative Director, EC3
In this year I am looking forward to seeing how architects respond to Alejandro Aravena’s call to take seriously the role of architecture as an instrument that can be used to answer the various needs that arise in society at any given time in a specific context. As the curator of the upcoming architecture biennale in Venice, Aravena has defined the theme of the biennale to be Reporting from the Front. He is looking for examples that illustrate the power of architecture to define and answer questions in very specific and tangible terms in ways that allow us to challenge ourselves and to find new ways of thinking. The theme of the biennale promises to deliver a strong demonstration of the diversity and flexibility of the power of architecture to help us find ways of overcoming the limitations that we sometimes set for our imagination while trying to address the varied challenges we are faced with in life and society.
Director, Finnish Museum of Architecture
2015 was the year of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the launch of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate from Naomi Klein, and of Paul Mason’s, PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future and the award of the Turner place to Assemble’s Granby’s Four Streets, an urban regeneration project. It was also the year when Matthew Rognlie’s critique of Piketty’s pointed at real estate as the biggest flaw of his economic theory: the most important redistribution policy may now be urban land-use policy, as urban development is the biggest source of inequality.
I hope that 2016 will be the year when architects abandon the contemporary retreat into the inner landscape of the discipline —autonomy, the return to architectural language games, the PO-MO revivals…— and the escape into the old anarcho-syndicalist rhetoric and the politically correct positioning, to actually engage with the new technologies —entrepreneurial, urban, computational, environmental— that have true transformative capacity. Architects can actually resolve the environmental and social problems of the Late Anthropocene.
Looking forward to a further shifting of attention from north to south, from west to east, and from accepting responsibility to taking responsibility. Looking forward.
Lev Bratishenko, Andrew Goodhouse, Jayne Kelley
Editors, Canadian Centre for Architecture
The tropes of certainty and exactitude, are collapsing under the grinding pivot of an architectural operation that is responding to an increasingly fragile (culturally- ecologically) world. Climate, demographic change, religious extremism and the frailties of capital have catapulted and humbled architecture from the lofty expressions of the doyens of the art, to more nuanced interventions, nimbler artifacts created through more limited means, suspicious of coarse capital, to produce an as yet optimistic, anticipatory, even prophetic architecture, that is engaged with the specificities of place. Alejandro Aravena's Pritzker 2016 award is an expression of this compassionate pragmatism, of architecture flexing different but no less exquisite muscles in the arena of cultural expression. I look forward to an architecture unadorned by hubris, but still consciously engaged in the timeless pursuit of beauty with a purpose, critical of the sometimes questionable networks of Capital that enable architecture into being; I look forward to architecture which relocates the human subject into a progressive dialogue wth community and nature, that frames space as an ethical, political and artistic site of action. I look forward to smart architecture, not dependent on trickery or digital slight of hand, but an architecture of light, shadow, ideas, mass, form, landscape, threshold and wonder that enables cultural expression and delight.
Makeka Design Lab
We’re excited to inaugurate our Heart of Hearts this February in time for Valentine’s Day, an engagement ring for our love affair with the spectacle of Times Square. Working with Times Square Arts and Center for Architecture has given us a truly special opportunity to create a space for intimacy and performance in the heart of the city, one we hope visitors (up to 300,000 per day!) will love. We’re building a faceted ring of golden, mirrored hearts that will reflect and multiply the pulsating activity of Times Square, creating a kaleidoscopic interior that dissolves the boundaries between viewing and performing. It’s the most public project we’ve ever worked on and we’re excited to see the many ways in which visitors will engage with the pavilion, inside and out.
At a time when we witness a changing society, we hope that in 2016, there is space for an awareness of the importance of architecture and architects as especially relevant actors in creating a more sustainable and balanced future, less hostage to pressures economic and more oriented towards solving real problems of everyday life in our cities and its people. We believe that architecture will be able in the short term to fulfill in a more effectively away its social role, reaching all kinds of public and democratizing their perception, causing policymakers, prosecutors and the general public stop see it as a necessary bureaucracy or as a mere exercise of assertion of power or capitalism and can see it as a fundamental tool in the planning and management of cities, in disaster prevention, in creating a better future, and above all as an element able to change their own lives.
Architecture is being called to face a challenge that is beyond its own boundaries. Architects are dealing with an object [the city] that has acquired a completely new form due not only to the regular urban processes but also due to mega-operations that are happening. In other words, it is not simply the resurgence of the city, but an entirely new scale of phenomena. Urbanism, in a certain way, is facing the challenge of reflecting on things that were not formerly in its scope. Nowadays, architecture and urbanism have to deal with a new panorama that requires the articulation of different disciplines and knowledge, which perhaps, in the past, were not so prominent in the agenda. We are experiencing the emergence of a new science–I would call it Science of the Cities–which overflows the boundaries of urbanism, but cannot work without it. This is the news.
Mayor of São Paulo
I hope that kindergarten and nursery is more close of children growth. Kindergartens and nursery are not amusement parks. Fun it is important, but not enough by itself. Of course, in Japan, there are various problems for children and I think that designers should first recognize it and then solved it by design. When we design a kindergarten or nursery, the keyword is simplicity. Being close to nature, creating bright and clean toilets, pleasant dining and kitchen, using natural materials, do not scare small injury, steps is fun. We hope that more and more people will understand these keywords deeply.
Partner, HIBINOSEKKEI + Youji no Shiro