Architecture is inherently linked to policy, politics, and power. With responsibility for the design and perception of the built environment, architects have a distinct role in shaping the human urban experience. As the world confronts issues of climate change, forced migration, and affordable housing, architects are increasingly putting themselves on the front line of the debate, using a variety of tools and avenues to clamor for change, and indeed design for it. However, while many official avenues exist for architects to advocate for social and environmental reform, there is an under-theorized method of resistance, a ‘road less traveled’ for social progress beyond officialdom.
Climate Change: The Latest Architecture and News
This article was originally published on Common Edge.
Fellow architects, can we talk? This is gonna hurt, but it needs saying. Were I a poet, I’d write, The end is nigh, and we are why. I’m no bard, though, so I’ll put it this way: Most of us suspect anthropogenic climate change will lead to civilization’s end. Some architects deny the science (“The climate is always changing!”), while others ignore the obvious (denial is a good coping mechanism), but buried within the folds of all angst-addled designer brains lies the fear that today’s toddlers could be the last of us.
I’ll pause here to let the weight of that thought depress you.
The City of Utrecht Council, in collaboration with advertising agency Clear Channel, has transformed 316 bus stops across the city into “bee stops.” The adaption involved installing green roofs onto the bus stops, creating bee-friendly spaces for the endangered species.
The climate in Madrid in 2050 will look more like the climate in Marrakesh, Morocco today. Stockholm will feel more like Budapest, London like Barcelona, Moscow like Sofia, Seattle like San Francisco, and Tokyo like Changsa in China.
The research "Understanding Climate Change Starting with an Analysis of Similar Cities" published in the scientific magazine PLOS ONE by The Crowther Lab of ETH Zurich, paints a grim picture of the future for the world's urban centers.
GLV Gossamer has released images of their design for a 19 kilometer stretch of waterfront along the Jing River in Xi’an, China. The proposal, a finalist in an international design competition, celebrates the site’s history at the origin of the Silk Road through strategies that tap into ancient and enduring histories of traditional architecture, merchant trade, and agricultural innovation. These enduring histories are woven with contemporary influences such as responses to major climatic and environmental challenges.
Chile is a country used to natural disasters as much as to the reconstruction process. However, the frequency of these cycles has increased over the years. According to the Ministry of Interior (Homeland), 43% of all natural disasters recorded in Chile since 1960 happened between 2014 and 2017. In fact, the government is already involved in several reconstruction processes across the country.
Modernism always wanted to have it both ways: on the one hand, modernist architecture was supposed to be, in theory, the same in all places; that's one reason why modernism in architecture was also called the International Style. If all modernist buildings look the same, when you see one you have seen them all: no need for further travel. Yet throughout the 20th century modernist culture and technology enthusiastically endorsed and favored travel. In the 60s we traveled to the Moon, and civil aviation made the world smaller. In modernist culture, travel was good. It made all travelers better, happier humans. It was good to learn foreign languages and to go see distant places. High modernist travel was not only good; it was also cool. The jet setters of the 60s were the coolest citizens of the world. Even later in the 20th century the general expectation was that borderless, seamless travel would keep getting easier and more frequent. Most Europeans of my generation grew up learning two or more foreign languages, and it was not unusual until recently to be born in one country, to study in another, and find one's first job in a third one. That was seen as an opportunity, not as a deprivation.
By some estimates, cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy, and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions: a figure sure to increase as the global migration from rural to urban areas continues. In the pursuit of exploring new models for how healthy cities could more effectively sustain these demands, Dutch design and research studio FABRICations has investigated how cities of the Netherlands can reduce carbon emissions through new design-led approaches.
A recent report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report reveals that the health of our ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide. At this point, scientists believe that ecosystems untouched by human interventions no longer exist. Human civilization and technology have permanently altered our planet and some of the most tangible impacts include imploding population numbers, deforestation, pollution (air, water, soil, and industrial), ocean acidification, climate change, and invasive alien species.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced plans to introduce a bill banning the construction of glass skyscrapers, forming part of efforts to reduce citywide greenhouse emissions by 30 percent. Unveiling the plans, he described all-glass façade skyscrapers as “incredibly inefficient” because of heat loss, according to NBC New York.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has used Earth Day, April 22nd, 2019, to launch a new initiative focused on educating the public about how sustainable practices are used in the conservation of National Historic Landmark sites, including the renowned architect’s Taliesin (Wisconsin) and Taliesin West (Arizona) residences. Taking place throughout the year, the Foundation’s efforts will aim to show how these practices can serve as examples for other facets of society.
As the world recognizes Earth Day 2019, the public discourse is increasingly dominated by citizen action across the world manifesting a widespread fear and frustration at a perceived lack of action by governments and officials to confront the issue forthrightly. From the Extinction Rebellion protests that have gripped London, to school student strikes across 125 countries, global cities are increasingly finding themselves on the front line of a battle to limit the effects of global warming.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced plans for a $10 billion coastal resilience project, designed to protect Lower Manhattan from flooding. In an editorial piece in New York Magazine, Mayor de Blasio outlined the ambitious plans to alter the waterfront of the Financial District, constructing a major infrastructural element up to 500 feet into the East River.
Part of the Lower Manhattan Climate Resilience Study, and designed in collaboration with climate scientists and local offices, the Mayor describes the scheme as “one of the most complex environmental and engineering challenges [New York] has ever undertaken and will, literally, alter the shape of the island of Manhattan.” The multi-billion dollar project is designed to protect Manhattan through the year 2100.
Back in 2008, ArchDaily embarked on a challenging mission: to provide inspiration, knowledge, and tools to the architects tasked with designing cities. In an effort to further align our strategy with these challenges, we recently introduced monthly themes in order to dig deeper into topics we find relevant in today’s architectural discourse. From architects who don't design to reframing climate change as a global issue, we are celebrating our 11th birthday by asking 11 editors and curators to choose ArchDaily's most inspiring articles.
About the Jose Marti Park Redesign RFQ:
Through this RFQ, Van Alen and the City of Miami seek to commission a multi-disciplinary design team for the project that offers the full range of professional urban design, landscape architecture, and engineering services and includes at least one Florida-licensed firm. The design team will work with Van Alen Institute and the City to ensure that this treasured public space serves the present and future needs of the Little Havana community. Innovative and thoughtful design should allow the park to minimize flood impacts to the neighborhood, adapt to sea level rise over time, and enhance waterfront access for residents. Ideally this project results in a solution that can be replicated in other places experiencing similar conditions.
It is, once again, the time of year where we look towards the future to define the goals and approaches that we will take for our careers throughout the upcoming year. To help the millions of architects who visit ArchDaily every day from all over the world, we compiled a list of the most popular ideas of 2018, which will continue to be developed and consolidated throughout 2019.
Over 130 million users discovered new references, materials, and tools in 2018 alone, infusing their practice of architecture with the means to improve the quality of life for our cities and built spaces. As users demonstrated certain affinities and/or demonstrated greater interest in particular topics, these emerged as trends.