Architizer’s 11th Annual A+Awards is open for entries! The reality is this: Architects carry an enormous weight on their shoulders and must be masters of multidisciplinary, lateral thinking if they want to get anything built.
What non-architects (full disclosure: I am myself in this category!) Indeed, when realized, architecture reinforces and shapes social and political realities. When approached creatively, good architecture pushes society forward.
Consider how established typologies reinforce the status quo. Yet, by thoughtfully updating the expectations of particular programs, architects can challenge social norms. The evolution of hospital design is an excellent example of this.
The Underline’s Brickell Backyard by James Corner Field Operations, Miami, FL, United States | Jury Winner, 10th Annual A+Awards, Urban Transformation.
This can take the form of improving air quality and urban circulation by adding public pedestrian spaces to a city center or protecting vulnerable communities from sea-level rise by building a vibrant recreation area.
While architects are some of the first to pooh-pooh blockbuster, monumental buildings that ignore local context, there’s something to be said about how memorable and unique architecture can serve as a point of commonality for diverse populations.
Architects also shape the fabric of our every day existence, impacting our minds and our bodies.
Frank Lloyd Write once said, “Give me a brick and it becomes worth its weight in gold,” and indeed architects do have the power to transform the perceived value of materials, therefore shaping industrial relations.
While specifying some materials over others can develop devastating consequences, architecture can also reassign value to resources and products otherwise cast aside by society.
So yes, we need more ‘great,’ ‘excellent,’ and ‘innovative’ design moments — buildings that make a BIG statement — but ‘good’ architecture is the foundation of a better society.
Being an architect is a huge responsibility, and more architects deserve credit for the ways that they positively impact the lives of countless individuals in their day to day lives.
Top image: Jean Louis Étienne School by archi5, Coupvray, France | Jury & Popular Choice Winner, Primary & High Schools. Architizer’s 11th Annual A+Awards is open for entries!