As urban migration increases, and a large number of specialists estimate about 75 percent will live in cities in the far future 2050 and beyond, new reflections on cities are urgently needed. What kind of cities can we build now? The built environment which has profound consequences on the shape of our society pose the issue of the present practice of architecture. As Mohsen Mostafavi, co-editor of Ecological Urbanism, points out, «we’re […] creating […] places for people that must exist within our ecological reality».
Architecture — as for urbanism — must be deeply reconstructed. Recent projects offer attempts to reconstrue the foundation of the discipline.
Architecture is more and more experimented as an expanded field in which it shares new perspectives for a more livable environment with fields like mathematics, botanics, phyllotaxis, engineering, ecology, science, cultural sciences, urbanism, landscape architecture. It explores the logics of flexibility, adaptation and evolution that are constitutive of ecosystems in nature. These recent projects illustrate a very important point that can be shared with the book Ecological Urbanism, that is «we need to view the fragility of the planet and its resources as an opportunity for speculative design innovations rather than a form of technical legitimation for promoting conventional solutions».
We will start with this remark and draw a very simple series of research. These research seek to find, interrogate how architecture, as expanded field, is used to shape a more livable environment, sustainable cities, and expose strategies of interaction between architecture and environment. These texts will table a new practice of architecture, that of architecture in interaction with environment, if not to say ecological architecture (to refer to Ecological Urbanism proposed by editors Mohsen Mostafavi and Gareth Doherty).
I identify three areas. The first one is named «Ecologies». It will look at the capacity of architecture to shift from an architecture of culpability to a an architecture as toolbox to shape sustainable cities. How can architecture participate in urban and natural ecologies?
The second area, Energies, will explore the various change that our society is facing and will ask how architecture is used to address these issues of global resources such as climate change, water shortage, to say but a few. These issues will change patterns of urbanization and require increasingly elaborate infrastructures.
Ethics constitutes the third and last area. I will discuss the social relation of architectural ecology. Architecture, here, functions as conduit, transmitter and receiver. Starting with the analysis of projects that deals with political, we will seek to find how architecture can link the population to ecology.
The methodology of this research is also simple: for each text, I will be starting with the study of a major architectural project, research, book, or a symposium. This starting point will be illustrating with other projects that expose the same issues.
The first forthcoming text will start with R&Sie(n) project. I will discuss issues among others: interaction, self-organisation, adaptation, response, behavior, mutation, etc, Key-elements to understand the ability of our society to adapt, transform, mutate according to external parameters (stress, etc). Projects such as Adaptive Urban Ecology, Green Urbanism and Synthetic Hyper-Structure, and Hydro-net city, among others, will be examined and help us to understand this new practice of architecture.
To be continued