Architecture, like so many disciplines, is an activity that deals with a long time, where the present is a point of intersection between past and future.
Sometimes these three parameters can be imagined in continuity, sometimes in rupture.
The latter is our case. Our present situation points us to clearly diverse topics and lines of action. I will try to point out some of them:
Our immediate past has plunged us into the digital world as an exterior of reference. Pandemic, lockdown, home working all point to the importance of a new virtual world in which we find ourselves. However, our work as architects is about the physical reality of things. Our job is to build the material world that surrounds us, which, in my opinion, is more important than ever to build with sensitivity and rigor.
Nature. For a long time, a clear reference for the project was the city: concentration, density… The pandemic isolation in the cities also provoked the need to escape to the outside: nature. An argument already present for a long time: sustainability, energy…are clearly necessary issues to face new projects, despite the frequent dogmatic, ideological and bureaucratic use of these arguments.
New spaces. Our recent experience has made us rethink the conventions of many spaces. I will point out two (complementary): housing (domestic space) and the workplace.
New residential proposals are necessary and are beginning to emerge widely.
Flexible spaces that allow easily different uses, that may be open or closed, with the possibility of outdoor space (private and also collective), with transverse ventilation and sunlight, that allow natural control of the interior temperature without the need for high energy costs.
Workplaces are also undergoing new thoughts and changes.
Office spaces, of course, between possible home working, and spatial mobility; and even many corporate spaces such as bank headquarters, for example, transforming their historical role as a regular meeting point into a special place of relationship with experts in some singular moments. A professional bureau, in short.
Times of change, such as the present, are complex and can be – are – tough, no doubt.
From a more distant point of view, they can also foster creativity and favor the emergence of the new, which is ultimately the central point of the architectural profession.
Article for Diario de Menorca, October 2022 in reference to the lecture in COIAB
Multimodal hub in Nice. Central axis of movement (tramway, pedestrians, bicycles and public transport). Experimental refrigerated pavement (Le Moniteur award). Photo: Aldo Amoretti, 2020.