What is the architect’s role in society? This question was sent out to 100 young professionals - half being 'architects', and the other half 'the rest of the world'
‘Architects VS Rest of the World’ investigates an alternative way to produce online content and to mix analogical and technological tools to anticipate future trends. Since the beginning of the financial crisis, the architectural profession has changed significantly. Architecture has merged more and more with other disciplines, and vice versa. To understand and anticipate these changes, multi-disciplinary confrontation is a necessity.
Postcard proposal by Aparicio Eeraerts
‘Architects VS Rest of the World’ invited 100 special guests to an ‘OPEN CALL’. From June 2015 to June 2017, each one on them received a special postcard with the same question: “What is the role of the architect in contemporary society?”. Receiving different answers to the same question helped to configure a new constellation of meanings, and build a new map to anticipate possible scenarios for the future of architecture.
Postcard proposals by participants. Left: Jean Benoit Vetillard, right: PKMN architects
We invited 50 young architects to answer the question: “What is the role of the architect in contemporary society?”. The responses talked about the economy, multi-disciplinarian, city and public space, management and participation, activism, the need to reinvent oneself and explore new ways of practicing the profession, technology, internationalization, reactivation and reuse.
This took place through a series of formats, such as with the collage received from Aparicioeeraerts, a studio founded by Roberto Aparicio (architect) and Elise Eeraerts (artist) in Antwerp, who chose to focus on the power of the imagination in their postcard, arguing that the architect possesses the capacity to push the limits in order to stimulate new sensations. PKMN architectures, a collective of architects in Madrid, brought up one of its pet subjects again with “ten lies about architects”, a list of stereotypes linked to the figure of the architect and the world of design. This is a sort of self-deprecating manifesto that tries to make people reflect on one of the key points of the Architects VS Rest of the World project: the need to open up to other disciplines by exchanging ideas with experts not directly connected with the world of architecture.
Participants Responses to the OPENCALL in October 2016
‘Architects VS Rest of the World’ was featured in ABITARE. The author, Gianpiero Venturini, talks more about the motives behind the project:
“I belong to the generation of ‘young’ architects whose experience of work has taken place against the backdrop of a constant state of crisis, something that is now perceived as normal by almost everyone of my age. I have lived in many cities around the world: Milan, Lisbon, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Madrid and I have now been in London for a few weeks. Recession has left its mark on the whole of my career. I have often wondered how it would be possible to involve a heterogeneous community of individuals in an understanding of what this generation has created of value. Recently I have managed to do this through the Architects VS Rest of the World project, i.e. by preparing a series of personalized postcards bearing the same question: “What is the role of the architect in contemporary society?” I sent them to over a hundred people, fifty architects (in more than ten countries of Europe) and fifty non-architects (including artists, designers, researchers, philosophers and sociologists, but also cooks, workmen and housewives): people with whom architects are dealing every day, and vice versa.”
Extracts from article with Gianpiero Venturini in Arbitare