“Architecture does not change anything. It’s always on the side of the wealthy.” With these words, Oscar Niemeyer referred to architecture as being a privilege mostly destined to the upper class – a statement that has historically proven to be true, even as some would like to deny it. Today, only 2% of all houses around the world are designed by architects. This is largely due to the fact that, to the average consumer, architect-designed homes continue to be perceived as expensive and esoteric products available only to this select few; a luxury that many cannot fathom to afford, especially as housing prices rise. Ultimately, this makes good design inaccessible for certain segments, forcing them to settle for precarious living conditions in standardized spaces that fail to take their needs into account (that is, if they even have access to housing).
self-build: The Latest Architecture and News
“Self-build”: no mention of an architect, or anyone else for that matter. Maybe it’s a prehistoric urge that makes this idea so enticing; our earliest ancestors constructed their primitive huts to suit their unique needs and reflect their status or style. “Self-build” promises to physically re-connect people to the homes they live in.
However, the romantic notion of "self-build" housing is rarely compatible with the modern reality we live in. Building has become increasingly clouded by the difficulty of procuring land, excessive governmental red-tape, and an increase in building complexity. While self-build remains the purest form of this dream, there are now a series of nuanced processes that can help us achieve similar results. As a new generation of communities that encourage this dream emerges, we must look at the role the architect plays within them.