Sunday, August 10, 2008

London


Mad Construction


Urban Infill


Community Garden


Murray Grove Modular Housing


St. Paul's


Billboard


Claim


Council housing re-envisioned after privatization


Surveillance City

Changing Spaces

London was one of those places, much like Paris that kind of put your head into a tailspin. So much to see in such little time. Especially for architecture. Not only is the history of the built environment deep and long, but the recent additions offer a lot of exciting. In a way, I hardly made it to the more historically significant buildings in the city. The city was abuzz with new building projects. The arts scene is deeply established and offered many wonderful opportunities to explore the connection between space, creativity, and perception.

In so many ways, it was most about the old and the new, in terms of housing. Many of the failures of the older council housing is being reinterpreted by new projects, many of which are rising over the city, especially along the waterfront. With the rejection of mass housing, what are some of the newer projects offering different and potentially viable solutions to provide larger scale housing?

Additionally, I was reading the Prefabricated Home by Colin Davies, and the idea of the modular, prefabricated home offered offered many relevant questions for the notions of mass housing. Long has the idea of a prefabricated home obsessed architects, but unfortunately most forays into the field have ended up in failure, especially by the most brilliant architectural thinkers of our time. How can an affordable and beautiful home be made accessible to large portions of the population? Can architects remove themselves from their obsession about their authorship, sole ownership of creativity, and truly allow designs to be accessible to the greater masses of people? What lessons are there to learn from two areas that architects have typically shunned? In the US, the mobile home has quietly grown to

But, a bigger theme that I have continually been struggling with in all of these projects and proposals is how to ensure that the buildings are not one-off projects. Meaning, as beautiful, initially successful, critically reviewed, and accolades given, is the benefit successful is nothing else comes beyond that?

The Huruma project in Nairobi (see post on May 22) was essentially a one-off project. If you have leads in other realms, they can help set lessons for other projects, but ultimately, architects work in a small realm, and the influence of their projects and ideas rarely get extended to the rest of the 98% of the population that is just as deserving of good design.

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