There is a theory that the more organized (read: developed) a society is, the less self-sufficient it becomes. All sorts of services and amenities, from housing to energy, from culture to justice, are centrally organized and distributed. But is that necessarily so? Or are we heading for a new order in which decentralized and self-reliant become the norm?
In today’s rapidly changing world, the role of real estate has been affected deeply. To such a degree that the Center for Urban Real Estate at Columbia University sees an opportunity to transform the profession from within, stressing its creative potential and introducing an ethical code. This issue of Volume is dedicated to CURE’s ambition to create a continuum between architecture and real estate, as part of the design disciplines.
For the first time, a general theme was given to the national pavilions at this year’s Architecture Biennale in Venice. They were to be historical shows, focused on the impact of modernity on a country’s architecture. What it produced was not just a global survey of twentieth century construction, but also heroic stories of nation-building. Yes, architecture can build nations. Today, we seem far from that notion. The nation-state is either giving up on itself, or exploited through tyrannical regimes. Meanwhile architects are hardly taking up the cause.
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The 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in Shenzhen took ‘urban border’ as its theme. For good reason. If there is a place to study ‘border’ as condition, it is Shenzhen. Demographic, territorial, economic, political, social, and legal borders created this fifteen million city in less than thirty-five years, and drive its further development. The transformation of this ‘factory of the world’ into a post-industrial economy and society, the disappearance of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen divide in 2047, and the reconciliation of state capitalism and communist rule, are but three of the challenges Shenzhen is facing, to which its role and position in the larger-scale development of the Pearl River Delta can be added.
'It’s legal, but is it legitimate?' and 'It’s legitimate, but is it legal?' These are questions rarely discussed in public concerning architecture and urban design. Yet architects have to deal with rules and regulations, and architecture is to a large extent defined by them. So the question is: how to deal with the law? Throughout the pages of this issue, we’ve explored different strategies for dealing with legal problems, whether that be through a direct fight or indirect action, through avoiding, subverting or changing the law. Because in the end law is too important to be left to lawyers.
We cannot beat Banham, but we can update you on what happened since 1972, when Rayner Banham published his seminal The Architecture of the Well Tempered Environment. C-Lab did extensive new research on the relation between installations, buildings and architecture…