Pink Floyd's song “Another brick in the wall” criticizes an alienating and demotivating educational system. People, or children, are portrayed as bricks due to their homogeneity, whether in the way of living or thinking in a society that is not very fond of opposition. Bricks work very well in this comparison, having changed very little throughout history and around the world in their rectangular shapes. But that's not true of their colors. Although we tend to think of red when we talk about bricks, there are infinite possibilities of shades, depending on the composition and manufacturing process of the pieces.
Over the course of the last decade there has been a growing interest in the handcrafted buildings, as well as in the application of local and renewable materials in building construction. Under the concerns about the heavy environmental and economic expenses caused by construction, nowadays urban planners are embracing the concept of sustainability, which refers to “meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
Shanghai Binjiang Avenue: Revitalizing the Historic Riverfront with a Human Centered Design Approach
Fred Kent, the founder of the nonprofit organization Project for Public Spaces, once stated that “If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places." It may sound obvious, nevertheless, our cities today are indeed undergoing a rapid transformation from a car-oriented society to a pedestrian-friendly community.
What elements and qualities does space need for a well-balanced physical and spiritual recovery? How to design spaces that are healthy for both our minds and our bodies? What makes an environment livable and sustainable in the long term?
These are the questions we need to address in the era of the rapidly developing real estate market. Why do we tend to inhabit more and more high-density residential towers? Are we necessarily more mentally secure? If not, what are the spatial solutions or cures for the current urbanites’ anxiety? In this article, we will explore ways of unwinding and finding cures in space.
As architecture has evolved to include advanced building envelopes, innovative structural systems, and hybrid programs, new boundaries have been drawn. Sustainable practices and passive strategies have led architects to re-imagine building skins and the relationship between interior and exterior. While different typologies are designed with varied levels of permeability, libraries demand rigorous attention to performative facades and protected programs. This holds especially true when libraries are placed within radically changing landscapes.