On Ethics of Architects

In an article in the magazine trans 28 Charlotte Malterre-Barthes writes about the ethics of architects. She stats that building comes with a responsibility which is not only concerned about economics. It comes with a political and social obligation. Some architects claim that architecture is detached from social, political and economical factors. They design for regimes with brutal dictators and in doubtful security conditions programs which are ethically questionable. Politically, viewed from the West, there are some countries which are not ethically accepted, for example countries with low democracy standards. But this facts did not keep several Western architects from building in these countries. A movement in the USA, called ‘Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility’ The members of this association refuse to design spaces which violate humane life and dignity, such as spaces for solitary confinement, torture, or cruel degrading. They claim this to be fundamentally incompatible with a professional practice that respects standards of decency and human rights. There is also a moral dilemma in working on projects which are harmful to poorer populations through gentrification. Gentrification has become a global issue that can be witnessed everywhere. Many famous architects take part in this issues with urban redevelopments. An example of gentrification is the large-scale project Europaalee with contributions by David Chipperfield, Max Dudler and Gigon/Guyer. An infiltration by financial institutions and upscale housing units leads to the destruction of the working class, immigrants, artists community. Malterre-Barthes concludes that the question of ethics concerns all architects, everywhere. When considering the type of materials used in construction, housing standards and environmental issues, the spectrum of dilemma becomes even bigger. So, an architect has to decide whether to build or not. Architects often have stood against demolition or against building. They are the prove that ethics in architecture exists.

Malterre-Barthes, C. On the Ethics of Architects: To build or not to build. In trans 28 – Zweifel (pp. 78–81).

On Ethics of Architects

Should Architecture be political? A Debate

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Capitalism infiltrated every aspect in contemporary society. In November 2013, on a night Storefront for Art and Architecture hosted and event related with the book launch of Architecture and Capitalism: 1845 to the Present, edited by Peggy Deamer. The event was described as a forum, and described as follows:

“On the occasion of the book launch of ‘Architecture and Capitalism’ edited by Peggy Deamer, Storefront presented a forum where some of the book contributors and other leading figures in the discourse around politics, economy, architecture and the city presented and discussed some historical and contemporary references on how alternatives have been articulated in the past and how we might be able to articulate them today.”

“Let me tell you a wonderful, old joke from Communist times. A guy was sent from East Germany to work in Siberia. He knew his mail would be read by censors, so he told his friends: “Let’s establish a code. If a letter you get from me is written in blue ink, it is true what I say. If it is written in red ink, it is false.” After a month, his friends get the first letter. Everything is in blue. It says, this letter: “Everything is wonderful here. Stores are full of good food. Movie theaters show good films from the west. Apartments are large and luxurious. The only thing you cannot buy is red ink.” This is how we live. We have all the freedoms we want. But what we are missing is red ink: the language to articulate our non-freedom. The way we are taught to speak about freedom— war on terror and so on—falsifies freedom. And this is what you are doing here. You are giving all of us red ink.   – Slavoj Žižek,  Sept 17, 2010, Liberty Square, New York”

Ross Wolfe  followed up the forum and wrote a review about the book, and followed by a debate between between himself  and Quilian Riano on their respective blogs about the topic of whether architecture should be political. Architecture debates took place from a physical space to a virtual platform.

Read more about the debate:

 

 

 

  • /Followed response by Ross Wolfe/
  • “Is all Architecture Truly Political?” A response to Quilian Riano by Ross Wolfe”

 

 

 

Should Architecture be political? A Debate

“The Fall” – A Visual journey

The Fall is a very visually powerful film. It is the result of a tremendous effort from its director Tarsem Singh, who traveled around the world in order to find the right locations for each scene. The film was shot in over 20 countries. This film is a very graceful combination of architecture and imagination with a intriguing story-telling.

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More info:

Films & Architecture: “The Fall”: http://www.archdaily.com/381658/films-and-architecture-the-fall

“The Fall” – A Visual journey

Oskar Hansen and Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw

Academy of Fine Arts, where Oskar Hansen used to teach, in Sculpture Department, is situated in district named Krakowskie Przedmieście in Warsaw – capital of Poland. One of the students, Jerzy Słomiński, in Filip Springer’s book mentions about the particular course which has been served at Academy of Fine Arts by Oskar Hansen as a lecturer. In the room, painted in white and with sound of music, student had to go in cylinder shape carton box hanged from the ceiling and draw inside the answer for Hansen’s question. It is one of the student’s memories about the innovative way of teaching, which Hansen introduced to the school.

 

Oskar Hansen with his ideology stood out from the group of teachers, which followed current situation in Poland and represented classical art through the no provocative form. Hansen required from the student’s projects esthetics, which arise from deep sense and something reasonable, what include analysis in itself. Required from the students infinite searching, analyzing, and appropriate artistic  language to communicate with him. Mathematical attempt to the art made him incredible original and identifiable with artists from western Europe. He advocated self-responsible way of learning to give students chance to choose what they want to do, to do not create obligatory list of courses. The students have to be evaluate through the process and effects, not the attendance on the lectures. When the Sculpture Department of Academy of Fine Arts occupied new building, Hansen came with his ideas to change education and proposed common project, in which would be involved every student and teacher, to work together with the same issue. His explanation was “There do not exist any type of registration process to studio, because school do not have any. This is the open system, which allows to have opportunity to consulate project with different consultants and professors according to student’s needs. The task for whole year. Credit commission.”1 Hansen was responsible for the interior design. He proposed open space, which includes all students. The privacy was possible, because of provided mobile wooden screens. His idea and project of new school of thought  was rejected by pessimistic professors and has been hidden as not to arouse controversy. It is said to be rejected, because of fair of professors to lose the position in school and their rooted outdated ideals and rules. In 1980 Hansen won the position of dean, because of students votes and proposed new system, which allows students to choose studio leaded by particular professors. If they are not chosen during 2 years, they have to leave the school. This is about open form of studies. Program was strongly criticized and Hansen became accused to be against  the identity of the department and its liberal traditions. Hansen had to leave the Sculpture Department, and his concept of open form of school has never been realized.

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Il.1.Students in Oskar Hansen’s Studio with apparatuses for Rhythm exercise. Source: http://diarieducacio.cat/oskar-hansen-al-macba-educar-millor-fer-ho-jugant/

1|Springer F., “Zaczyn. O Oskarze i Zofii Hansenach”, p.185, translated from polish by Paulina Frankowska

Oskar Hansen and Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw

MIT Open Course Ware

Convenience today dictates much of our daily decisions and life plans; what makes this process more feasible is the internet and availability of information that can be accessed. Buckminster Fuller’s former prediction of using the web as a platform for learning has spread to larger and more prestigious institutions such as MIT, whereby people can choose to learn without having to pay for tuition or formally enroll into class. Whether or not one receives a formal education does not determine the influence and the success they may one day achieve. Providing education online helps those who are unable to afford education the ability to learn.

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/architecture/4-461-building-technology-i-materials-and-construction-fall-2004/download-course-materials/

Architecture education, though is peculiar in that learning stems experiencing and learning in a studio environment. It is necessary to prepare students to tackle possibly real-world problems related to architecture and cultivate minds that are “curious” and critically analyzing work.

 

 

MIT Open Course Ware

MOVIE TO WATCH – THE GREEN BEAUTIFUL / LA BELLE VERTE

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115650/

Part comedy, part sci-fi, this movie provides critical reflection on today’s society that is run under dictates of money and power. It makes you wonder if people have to have other group of people governing them. If there can be other “world order”. Even unofficially prohibited by TV broadcasters in the past, it is rarely shown. Worth to watch!

MOVIE TO WATCH – THE GREEN BEAUTIFUL / LA BELLE VERTE