One of the most radical instances of public space transformation happened recently. During the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, public space transformed into “a medical resource, a distribution hub, an overflow space, a center of protest and resistance, a gym, a senior center, a community center, a daycare center, a schoolyard, a night club, a transportation corridor, an outdoor restaurant, a shopping mall, a children’s playground, an outdoor theater, a music venue, a nature center, and a place of belonging and ‘being at home.’”
Social Architecture: The Latest Architecture and News
Despite the bad reputation of public housing in the United States, organizations, planners, and architects in Portland, Oregon are determined to create affordable housing that does not sacrifice quality or aesthetic appeal. While Portland has developed a bad reputation regarding its homelessness problem, in the past four years resources have flowed in the right direction, and designers have taken this in stride to design livable and striking buildings, within very restrictive budgets. Through innovative and creative approaches to construction and design, these organizations and designers have utilized federal, state, and city resources to make these types of projects a reality.
In the realm of media architecture and its role in supporting struggles for social justice, the recent Media Architecture Biennale 2023 (MAB23) in Toronto, Canada, shed light on a captivating aspect: The rapid and vast propagation of solidarity lighting in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The synchronized illuminations, infused with activism and global art projects, became a powerful emblem of worldwide support for Ukraine during its time of crisis. Two emphatic female political leaders in Europe initiated the lighting solidarity message. Surprisingly, the blue and yellow Ukrainian flag illumination on iconic buildings worldwide defined an image of solidarity even faster in the press than large crowds of people in anti-war protests the weekend after the war began.
The International Day of Cooperatives is a celebration of the cooperative movement, which takes place annually on the first Saturday of July. In 1992, the United Nations General Assembly established it a national day, celebrating the cooperative movement worldwide with yearly themes. The cooperative movement is an association focused on achieving common goals and addressing collective communal needs. Cooperatives believe in community development at their core, prioritizing people and supporting local communities to improve their well-being. Moreover, the co-living models that have been adapted from it have become an enormous success over the past few decades, providing a form of cost-effective social housing. The cooperative structure redefines how people live, work, play, and collaborate. This year's theme is “Cooperatives: Partners for accelerated sustainable development.”
As cooperative principles continue to be injected into built environments today, the concept has created different models of co-op housing, leading to co-living. Over the past years, established European awards have celebrated co-living and architecture studios and developers worldwide have designed different models exploring co-living. The articles and projects selected in this article address what it means to live together, work together, and form healthy communities in this day and age.
The Structure of a People: The South African Pavilion Explores Architectural Representations at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale
For the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, the South African Pavilion explores the architectural representation of social structures through an exhibition titled “The Structure of a People.” Prior to the exhibition, the pavilion curators, Mr. Stephen Steyn, Dr. Emmanuel Nkambule, and Dr. Sechaba Maape, conducted a national architecture competition titled “Political Animals,” aimed at gathering artifacts crafted by lecturers and architecture students to represent the structures of their schools or universities. The resulting models and miniature architectures, produced by ModelArt, will be exhibited within Zone III, Political Animals, as part of the South African Pavilion.
The Cyprus Pavilion Examines Social Sustainability and Space Exploration at La Biennale di Venezia 2023
The Cyprus Pavilion at the International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia has announced its exhibition. The pavilion will explore the first early settlements of the Cyprus Aceramic Neolitih Khirokitia, using these communities as a springboard to discuss social sustainability challenges in a humanistic and cultural framework. The display, curated by Petros Lapithis, Lia Lapithi, Nikos Kouroussis, and Ioanna Ioannou Xiari, is based on a foundation for a newly constructed environment that will be established on Mars.
A School for Girls in India and a Vertical Community Farm in the US: 10 Unbuilt Socially Engaged Projects Submitted to ArchDaily
The year 2022 was marked by several socio-cultural and economic crises across the globe, from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the increasing cost of living worldwide, combined with a number of natural disasters such as the devastating floods in Pakistan and hurricane Ian in the US. In these difficult times, architects are stepping up and embracing their role in developing design-based solutions to humanitarian crises, ranging from temporary shelters and affordable housing schemes to centers for protecting at-risk groups such as homeless underage girls, children from low-income environments, or families in need of medical care.
This week's curated selection of Best Unbuilt Architecture highlights projects submitted by the ArchDaily community that engage with their local communities, offering safe spaces for disadvantaged and at-risk groups. From a sanctuary for homeless girls in Iraq to an affordable housing project in Prague’s first skyscraper, this selection features projects centered around people, their needs, and desires. Many of the projects employ local materials such as clay bricks to lower the construction costs. They also reuse existing buildings and hope to engage the local community in building and appropriating the proposed spaces.
The philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre coined the notion of "production of space" in 1974, breaking with the vision of space as a container or scenario of objects and social relations, to move towards space understood as a process. From this vision based on the Marxist tradition, space is a product and a producer of social relations and processes.
The new metaverse platform pax.world, set to launch in early 2023, has announced its collaboration with global architecture offices Grimshaw, HWKN, Farshid Moussavi, and WHY to create “Metaserai,” a vast social and cultural hub envisioned as the core of the new virtual community. The hubs are designed to host virtual cultural, social, and educational events such as concerts, theatre shows, digital art galleries, markets, lectures, parties, and festivals.
The pax.world platform aims to develop into a fully functioning society governed by a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, also known as a DAO. The virtual space will be divided into privately-owned plots of land punctuated by Metaserai communal hubs. These take inspiration from the Caravanserai of the ancient Silk Road, which became hubs for commerce and cultural exchange. Each of the architects is designing their own interpretation of Metaserai.
What kind of city is a people-oriented city? This is a difficult question to answer because humanistic cities evaluate the city by "people”, and people are extremely diverse, producing individual different evaluation standards. For example, a city that is friendly to car drivers, may not be so friendly to pedestrians.
Nonetheless, there is a general perception that some cities seem to be more friendly to people than others. Why is this the situation?
From the 21st to the 25th of September, the Mextrópoli Festival + XII Ibero-American Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism took place in Mexico City. As part of the event, ArchDaily spoke with 2014 Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban about the central theme "Inhabiting at the margins", a proposal that sought to make visible the work of those who are providing solutions to the growing social, environmental, and economic needs at the margins of the system.
Many of us agree that design is still not considered for everyone. That is why we must ask ourselves what is truly democratic in the matters of design - in order to define our vision toward a more just society. From the perspective of architecture and urbanism, we can look at this democratization from different angles, including citizens in participatory processes, in order to find answers to our constant search to improve habitability and accessibility.
After a prolonged period known as the Middle-Ages, a growing desire to both study and mimic nature itself began to emerge, with an inclination to discover and explore the world. Between 1400-1600 A.D. Europe was to witness a significant revival of the fine arts, painting, sculpture, and Architecture. The ‘Renaissance’, meaning ‘rebirth’ in French typically refers to this period of European history, although most closely associated with Italy, countries including England and France went through many of the same cultural changes at varying timescales.
Prior to the dawn of the Renaissance, Europe was dominated by ornate and asymmetrical Gothic Architecture. Devoured by the plague, the continent lost approximately a third of its population, vastly changing society in terms of economic, social and religious effect. Contributing to Europe’s emergence into the Renaissance, the period ushered in a new era of architecture after a phase of Gothic art, with the rise of notions of ‘Humanism’. The idea of attaching much importance to the essence of individualism. The effect of Humanism included the emergence of the individual figure, greater realism and attention to detail, especially in depictions in art.
Last Tuesday, March 15, Francis Kéré became the first African architect to win the Pritzker Prize, the most important award in the architecture discipline.
The election of Kéré is not only symbolic in a time of identity demands, where the institutions that make up the mainstream are required to more faithfully represent the social, cultural, and sexual realities that make up our societies, but it also confirms the recent approach of the Pritzker Prize jury.