I'm a little late, I know, but before it's too late and possibly irrelevant I want to share this article from the Financial Times on this years Venice Biennale of Architecture. The article very interestingly reflects on the 'End of Architecture', thoughts that seems to have sprung from this years biennale titled Fundamentals. Rem Koolhaas, who curated the exhibition this year, tells us to go back to the basics of architecture. Personally, I find this all very interesting and quite frankly a little frightening. Let's think of the door as an example. Do we as architects, know how to design something as 'simple' a door anymore? Or have we become too spellbound by 3D software and restrained by regulations to remember the excitement of designing a threshold? Has the easy-ness of just adding a 3D object left us incapable as designers? Well, it's not that dramatic I don't think, but at the very least, something has been lost over the last 10-20 years in terms of spatial qualities. It's time to face the truth; it's NOT the same to go through a heavy timber door then to go through some sliding glass doors that open automatically 3 m before you even get close to the room. Where has the art in architecture gone?
I've gone of track.. The article refers mostly to another problem; the generalizations in the architectural language combined with globalization has lead to an architecture that lacks time and place - a problem that us as architects cannot refuse to deal with anymore. If we do, what will the world look like in only a few hundred years?
Although the title of this article is rather depressing, I read a lot of hope in it. Yes, architecture has lost a lot of its national characteristics and emphasis on the fundamental elements, but recognizing the problem is the first step towards recovery, right? I think so! There is definitely huge efforts made in the academic world towards finding a more appropriate language for contemporary architecture, and I think the next generations of architects will be eager to challenge the current architectural trends. There are also a lot of exciting firms that are taking on this great task with thought-provoking and intriguing projects. All is not lost, it is not the end of architecture.