Even though most of us engage in economic activities on a daily basis, few of us actually understand the system.
Of course, since the global crisis we’ve seen a lot of publications on the failures of capitalism and how we could repair, improve, and perhaps replace it. But before thinking about what could be changed in order to improve upon the current conditions, we have to understand how our current economic system actually works.
And while we’re all taught the neoclassical understanding of economics from primary school onwards, to me it seems few of us actually posses the knowledge to critically assess its shortcomings. In an attempt to facilitate such an assessment, I try to clarify some of the main principles in the current economic system. read on…
In that unbearable, unorganized, but dramatically beautiful city, that is Venice, a libertine spirit hovers in the squares and aisles! People feel freedom before the claustrophobia takes over. Parties, fancy dresses, some showing off, inaudible speeches, unreachable drinks, inaccessible pavilions…
What is clear to me after this Biennale, is just one aspect! The end of architecture!
The Central Pavilion, showing the elements of architecture, is so redundant and overwhelming, that distributes an apparently acritical content, which is, in reality, the most critical of all. It says: “we are done!” Technology, comfort, security, engineering, sustainability, all these topics are taking over. Architecture is a discipline that has always struggled in defining itself, probably as much as philosophy did in the past; nowadays, architecture is obliterated by an infinite array of technical subjects. Nowadays, we are living in the time of “plasterboard architecture!”
So, what all those people in Venice were really doing?! Are they conscious of how much endangered is such a discipline and profession?! Architecture is no longer a relevant social matter anymore; governments are not participatory as in the 60s. 600 years ago, families such as the Medici were using architecture and art to express their power. Once more, right now, architecture is becoming the play tool of few rich people, since all the rest that concerns buildings and city planning is a mere technical issue. This is what happens when the curve of modernity starts to go downward.
Many Dutch cities drastically changed and developed their centers from the 50s and 60s onward. In places such as Zoetermeer, Almere, Rotterdam and so on, the city centre developed around one main activity: shopping. So far nothing new, but the impressive aspect is the extravagance and monumentality reached by new shopping roads and malls within the city’s core. In contrast with the sobriety of Rotterdam’ Lijnbaan devised and realized right after WW2, Zoetermeer shows a new scale and image of the shopping. In Rotterdam, a similar attempt is represented by OMA’s Coolsingel project, the initial proposal was definitely daring due to its crazy structure and large scale. read on…
multitude is irreducible multiplicity, whatever that means. collective. Born from an acute sense of distress, it’s not getting any better. It speaks about Architecture, but it also speaks about Architecture.
Every year I tell myself: This is the last time I go home for Christmas. And every year I punctually go. Why don’t I like going home for Christmas is because it’s a full time activity. Nobody rests in Christmas, if you are resting you are not helping! Buy a gift, See the aunt, make a call, tie a knot, rob a bank.. it’s endless. Christmas 2013, However, was unique because it marked the beginning of a new city trend: The lighting festival. read on…
The competition is mostly seen as a free and egalitarian way of expressing diverse ideas. However, what often happens is that open architectural competitions place stress upon the fragile economies of small architectural firms. What is even worse is that such competitions favor the exploitation of interns because, if the entry is unsuccessful, no reimbursement is given to the participants.
When a small practice wants to enter a competition, it will have to use interns to reduce the costs of the production needed for the submission, triggering a situation of exploitation when interns are forced to work up to 80 or 90 hours per week. In general, an open competition should not require too much time and effort from its participants, nor should it impose intricate restrictions.
Some open competitions have become lottery-like events, receiving thousands of entries.
In addition, many competitions impose rules which deprive the architects of any intellectual copyright on their own submission. This is the ultimate contradiction, especially when the architect has to pay a fee to participate. Too many negative aspects are overshadowing open competitions despite the excitement and good will of many architects.