Classic Architecture with a Social Agenda (1960-Today)

Rural Studio: Hale County Animal Shelter. Image © Timothy Hursley

“Ninety-five percent of the world’s designers focus all of their efforts on developing products and services for the richest 10% of the world’s customers.”  - Paul Polak, Design for the 90% [1]         

The vast majority of contemporary architectural practice today is service industry based, where a fee-paying client commissions a firm for a defined scope of services. Master of self-effacing cynicism Philip Johnson wryly accepted this structure, calling architects “high-class whores.” The recent surge of interest in designing for traditionally underserved communities, from groups such as Architecture for Humanity, MASS Design, Project H and Public Architecture challenges the traditional firm model. The Prizker Prize jury’s recognition of Shigeru Ban’s humanitarian designs highlights that high design and a socially conscious practice are not mutually exclusive.

Believing that architecture can alleviate societal ills and improve the quality of life for all people is not a new concept. Two eras, the 1920s and 1960s-70s, brought a social agenda to the forefront of the discourse. Hindsight reveals flaws of each. Modernism’s utopian visions for public housing and urban renewal are blamed for the detrimental impact of Post-WWII urban housing projects; participatory design in the 1960s and 70s is criticized for ceding expertise in the name of consensus, ending with projects that were no better than the status quo. Despite this, there are lessons to be learned from those who emphasized the social and humanitarian role of architecture.

Giancarlo De Carlo / Moleskine

Inspiration and Process in Architecture is a series of monographs on key figures in modern and contemporary architecture. It offers a reading of the practice of design which emphasis the value of freehand drawing as a part of the creative process.

Facebook 500,000 Fans Giveaway: Moleskine – Inspiration and Process in Architecture Winners

Moleskine® - Inspiration and Process in Architecture

Last week, we partnered with Moleskine to celebrate our 500,000 in Facebook! We asked you which architect would you like to see featured in Moleskine’s ‘Inspiration and Process in Architecture’ collection. We received more than 1,500 comments with great proposals for Moleskine to pick up. Here are the winners:

Moleskine: Suk Ho Lee
BOLLES+WILSON Moleskine: Dan Selden
Alberto Kalach Moleskine: Kartik Shah
Zaha Hadid Moleskine: Alejandra Cortes

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Facebook 500,000 Fans Giveaway: Moleskine – Inspiration and Process in Architecture

® - Inspiration and Process in Architecture

Our Facebook Fan Page has finally reached 500,000 fans, making it the largest architecture community in Facebook! To celebrate it, we partnered with Moleskine to host a fantastic giveaway.

Moleskine, the legendary manufacturer of tools for creativity, introduces “Inspiration and Process in Architecture”, a collection of cloth-bound monographs, curated and edited by Francesca Serrazanetti and Matteo Schubert, exploring the design process of architects. The first four books of the series feature interviews, writings, drawings and notes from four international architects: Zaha Hadid, , BOLLES+WILSON, and Alberto Kalach.

All you have to do is become a registered user (for free!), and answer this question in the comments: Which architect would you like to see featured in this Moleskine collection? Among all the comments by registered users we will giveaway four books (one of each). You have until next Monday 16 to comment! Good luck!