arch-peace news and articles


Archinect Op-Ed: The Public Image(s) of Architecture Nov 08, 2008

A timely discussion of architecture and politics appeared in this week's Archinect e-newsletter (although around these parts we've been thinking for a while it's about time the two got together!). It's an interesting question...just how politically involved can (or should) architects get? Other non-profit orgs for architects seem to try to keep the two issues separate; often citing the need to avoid political involvement in order to be able to carry out much-needed development or reconstruction work in countries with difficult political situations.

Conversely, since launching the arch-peace probono service in 2006, we regularly encounter projects that require an architect to act as an agent for change: petitioning for a needed project or actively supporting community groups involved in contentious issues (most recently with the Student Housing Action Collective's occupation of a vacant building in Faraday St, Carlton).

Archinect Op-Ed: The Public Image(s) of Architecture Nov 08, 2008

by o d b

"Architecture and politics have a long and sordid relationship. It has been said that all architecture is political. Typically architecture serves a subservient role in this relationship by merely representing the politics of the building’s patron—what Deyan Sudjic has described as the Edifice Complex. Nevertheless, at times throughout history architects themselves take on a political agenda and use their projects as rhetorical devices for the elucidation of these views."

Read the whole article here


Anonymous said...

Thansk for this post Eleanor, it is such an important topic.

I tend to think that the lack of architect's public image might have something to do with the Anglophone educational tradition (specialisation, separation, focus on architecture as art, lack of involvement in social/civic discussion and policy). The reason I would argue this point is because if we look at the role of the architect in places like Spain, Germany, or in America (non Anglo), the role of the architect is much more connected with society. Architects are also responsible for the city (most have been educated as urbanists). It is not unusual to see the architect involved in public advocacy, designing the street (including street furniture ad paving) as well as buildings. Also, in these countries all buildings have to be designed (or signed off) by architects. From the top of my mind about 90% are--which does not ensure quality of course, but involvement. These figures are much lower in the US (I think about 15%) and Australia, even lower (8-12%?).

Post a Comment