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Rory Hyde Projects / Blog » Blog Archive » Potential Futures for Design Practice
"Here follows a brief survey of these new roles for designers, each representing potential futures for design practice.

The Community Enabler

The healthy boom of the past two decades has led the architect to become accustomed to producing boutique solutions for private clients; a comfortable scenario that has distracted us from our responsibility for society at large. By reconceiving the role of the architect not as a designer of buildings, but as a custodian of the built environment, the space of opportunity and tools at our disposal are vastly expanded.

The Renew Newcastle project, established and led by Marcus Westbury, illustrates the value of people in the improvement of a public space. While millions had been spent by local government on rebuilding the physical aspects of Newcastle’s rundown and largely deserted Hunter St mall, the simple gesture of opening up vacant spaces for use by creative practitioners and businesses has kick-started its revival. [5]

The Visionary Pragmatist

The stereotype of the architect as an obsessive, black skivvy-wearing aesthete who produces detailed artefacts of beauty is a pervasive one that may sometimes live up to the truth. This is a potentially dangerous perception however, as it promotes our interest in form over our value as strategic thinkers. By promoting our capacity to challenge the underlying assumptions of a problem and to develop responses informed by a larger context, we can hope to be invited into projects at an earlier, more decisive stage, and not as mere cake-decorators.

Chilean practice Elemental, led by Alejandro Aravena, views the larger contexts of policy, financing and social mobility as equally important territories for the architect to understand and engage. The multi-unit housing project in Iquique proposed a unique solution to the issue of the limited funding allocated per unit of social housing. By providing ‘half of a good house’ [6], and configuring it in a way that enabled future expansion, the residents can create housing of real personal value and utility.

The Trans-Disciplinary Integrator

The complex, manifold and integrated issues of today cannot be solved by architecture alone. To be truly instrumental, we need to open ourselves to new constructive alliances with thinkers and makers from beyond our discipline.

RMIT’s Design Research Institute, established in 2008 by Professor Mark Burry, is a research centre directed toward collaboration and information sharing between students and professionals from over 30 disciplinary backgrounds. By harnessing collective expertise, the DRI is able to address major social and environmental dilemmas that do not conform to the traditional boundaries of design training. [7]

By transcending our own expectations and limits, we can in turn recast society’s expectations of what we are capable of addressing.

The Social Entrepreneur

The economic crisis has been heralded as the end of architecture’s ‘obsession with the image’. What this hope overlooks however, is the powerful narrative potential of architectural communication in catalysing complex visions for the future. Deploying this power to address social aims allows architects to contribute meaningfully to the future of the city by posing the critical question: ‘what if?’

PLOT’s (now BIG and JDS) scheme for the Klovermarken park was developed in response to Copenhagen’s acute housing shortage. Through a media campaign which promoted their solution to provide 3000 units within in a perimeter block without sacrificing a single sporting field, PLOT were able to generate significant public interest in the project, which led to the government holding a competition for the site. Although PLOT did not win the commission, the project is proceeding nonetheless, providing much-needed housing to the inner city, and demonstrating the value of practical vision. [8] (I’ve discussed this project before in an earlier post on Unsolicited Architecture.)

The Practicing Researcher

Architecture’s current model of charging as a percentage of the construction cost does little to justify the thinking and intelligence that is embedded in the process. The inability to distinguish our conceptual value from our production-focused value that this model implies also means we are not natural candidates for projects that require the approach of an architect, but that may not result in a building.

AMO, the think tank of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, was established precisely to focus on this type of work, by applying ‘architectural thinking in its pure form to questions of organisation, identity, culture and program’. [9] The project Roadmap 2050: A Practical Guide to a Prosperous, Low-Carbon Europe, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, delivers on its title with a radical scheme of integrated green power generation stretching from North Africa to Norway. By not being constrained to any particular building commission, this research can operate at a scale that holds the potential for real global impact. (I have discussed this project further in an earlier post Whole Earth Rise.)

The Long-Term Strategist

While form is an important aspect of the architect’s repertoire, it is now just one of a larger set of tools directed at achieving results. The challenge of environmental sustainability has brought with it the necessary obligation that buildings perform as designed, and can adapt throughout their life to meet changing demands and targets. We can no longer simply design the object, but must also design the strategy of implementation and long-term evaluation as part of our responsibilities.

The Low2No competition organised by the Finnish innovation fund Sitra made these long-term strategies a central requirement of the design brief. [10] With the ambitious aim of producing an urban development solution in Helsinki that would over time be carbon negative, the teams were asked not only to produce an architectural vision, but a future strategy for delivering these environmental results. By looking beyond the immediate horizon of project completions, the strategist takes on a greater responsibility and interest in a successful outcome.

The Design Management Thinker

One of the current buzzwords in the design world at the moment is ‘design thinking’. Although it has many definitions, one interpretation is of the application of a design approach to problems in fields outside of design, such as business and management. [11] This is heralded as a potential means for designers to expand their reach and to reclaim their instrumentality and relevance to other disciplines.

However, we are also witnessing the rise of its inverse; a more threatening scenario whereby management consultants occupy the territory traditionally held by architects. As the role of cities in the globalised world evolves from simply being designed to deliver quality of life, to being speculative instruments of investment, governments are increasingly turning to financial and management consultants for advice instead of urbanists or architects. This is particularly true in the Gulf region of the Middle East, where McKinsey & Company has produced the Vision 2030 plan for Bahrain, and have reportedly also been developing the plans for Saudi Arabia’s new economic cities. [12] This potential future should be treated by architects as both a warning and an opportunity for coalition.

The Unsolicited Architect

The potential for architects to address the challenges of the future are limited by our reactive model of commissioning. In a concept outlined by Volume magazine in the issue of the same name, unsolicited architects create their own briefs, identify their own sites, approach their own clients and find their own financing. This requires a more entrepreneurial mindset, as the tools of architecture and architectural thinking are only powerful if they can be unshackled from the constraints of a given brief.

Faced with the planned demolition of the building where they have their offices to make way for encroaching gentrification, landscape architects ZUS created ‘De Dépendance’, a counter proposal to reuse the building as a centre for urban culture and a hub for like-minded institutions and businesses. [13] With support from the municipality and media exposure, they were able to turn around the developer, who now supports their proposal. By developing a viable alternative, instead of merely protesting, ZUS were able to steer the project to an outcome that is both equitable and beneficial for all parties."
architecture  design  future  practice  2014  roryhyde  marcuswestbury  elemental  alejandroaravena  transdisciplinary  markburry  klovermarken  big  jds  plot  amo  oma  low2no  sitra  strategy  via:ablerism 
february 2014 by robertogreco
Spatial Agency
"…a project that presents a new way of looking at how buildings & space can be produced. Moving away from architecture's traditional focus on the look and making of buildings, Spatial Agency proposes a much more expansive field of opportunities in which architects and non-architects can operate. It suggests other ways of doing architecture.

In the spirit of Cedric Price the project started with the belief that a building is not necessarily the best solution to a spatial problem. The project attempts to uncover a second history of architecture, one that moves sharply away from the figure of the architect as individual hero, & replaces it with a much more collaborative approach in which agents act with, & on behalf of, others.

In all the examples on this website, there is a transformative intent to make the status quo better, but the means are very varied, from activism to pedagogy, publications to networking, making stuff to making policy - all done in the name of empowering others…"
centerforurbanpedagogy  mockbee  santiagocirugeda  coophimmelblau  freeuniversity  hackitectura  teamzoo  yalebuildingproject  wuzhiqiao  wholeearthcatalog  colinward  urbanfarming  supertanker  self-organization  selforganization  raumlabor  victorpapanek  eziomazini  jaimelerner  iwb  cohousing  mikedavis  doorsofperception  johnthackara  teddycruz  buckminsterfuller  centerforlanduseinterpretation  atelierbow-wow  elemental  antfarm  ruralstudio  amo  collaborativeproduction  collaboration  networking  policy  holisticapproach  systemsthinking  systemsdesign  activism  spacialagency  jeremytill  tatjanaschneider  nishantawan  matterofconcern  brunolatour  transformativeintent  openstudioproject  lcproject  empowerment  via:cityofsound  cedricprice  resource  designthinking  database  urbanism  space  uk  design  research  architecture 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Eikongraphia » Blog Archive » OMA, AMO, MAO
"How should we call this third branch? After ‘OMA’ and ‘AMO’ there are only four other configurations of the letters ‘O’, ‘M’, ‘A’ left: OAM, AOM, MOA and MAO. I opt for MAO.
via:adamgreenfield  architecture  design  urbanism  oma  amo  mao  zeitgeist  future  art  remkoolhaas 
january 2009 by robertogreco
How architecture firms name themselves. - By Witold Rybczynski - Slate Magazine
"over the last several decades architectural practices with names such as Mecanoo, UNStudio, and OMA have appeared—and that's just in Holland. What's going on?"
architecture  brand  design  history  names  naming  remkoolhaas  oma  amo 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Guadalupe HouseLife - Abitare
"Ila Bêka e Louise Lemoine seguono i passi e i pensieri di Guadalupe Acedo, custode e collaboratrice domestica nella celeberrima casa progettata da Rem Koolhaas a Bordeaux"
oma  amo  remkoolhaas  bordeaux  architecture  design  homes  housing 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Welcome to the future | Art & Architecture | Guardian Unlimited Arts
"Any self-respecting world city now needs outlandish buildings, but what about the past? Superstar architect Rem Koolhaas tells Jonathan Glancey why even he gets nostalgic"
architecture  art  beijing  china  design  cities  remkoolhaas  oma  amo  urbanism  society  urban  history 
september 2007 by robertogreco
organizing vision: rem koolhaas's little brother, amo: Architecture + Design: mensvogue.com
"Rem Koolhaas's revolutionary approach to architecture extends to any arena that can be designed, from fashion to geopolitics."
remkoolhaas  oma  amo  design  architecture  fashion 
september 2007 by robertogreco
On The Cusp
"Amale Andraos and Dan Wood—a pair of OMA alums—emerge from the long shadow of Rem Koolhaas."
architecture  design  oma  amo  remkoolhaas 
august 2007 by robertogreco
icon | 050 | august
50 manifestoes: maeda, koolhaas, acconci, wamders, mau, sagmeister, thackara, hadid, prince-ramus, mayne, FAT, antonelli, manaugh, holl, chalayan, rogers
design  manifestos  architecture  remkoolhaas  oma  amo  princeramus  vitoacconci  thommayne  jonmaeda  thackara  zahahadid  stevenholl  johnmaeda 
august 2007 by robertogreco
dezeen » Blog Archive » Kuwait Al-Rai masterplan by OMA
"OMA in the Middle East: Office for Metropolitan Architecture has sent images and text of its Kuwait Al-Rai Development Masterplan - a study for a major mixed development in Kuwait City."
remkoolhaas  oma  amo  urban  design  cities  architecture 
july 2007 by robertogreco
dezeen » Blog Archive » Jeddah International Airport by OMA
"OMA in the Middle East: Office for Metropolitan Architecture have designed a new international airport for Jeddah in Saudi Arabia."
architecture  design  remkoolhaas  oma  amo  airports  transportation 
july 2007 by robertogreco
dezeen » Blog Archive » RAK Gateway by OMA
"OMA in the Middle East: RAK Gateway is a masterplan by Office for Metropolitan Architecture for a large urban development at Ras Al Khaimah, the northernmost of the United Arab Emirates."
cities  urban  design  architecture  oma  amo  remkoolhaas 
july 2007 by robertogreco
dezeen » Blog Archive » Porsche Design Towers by OMA/Porsche Design
"OMA in the Middle East: Office for Metropolitan Architecture have sent us some new renderings, plans and sections of Porsche Design Towers I and II, which they are jointly designing with Porsche Design."
oma  amo  remkoolhaas  design  architecture  porschedesign 
july 2007 by robertogreco
dezeen » Blog Archive » Torre Bicentenario in Mexico City by OMA
"Office for Metropolitan Architecture has designed what will be the tallest tower in Latin America, to be built in the centre of Mexico City."
oma  amo  remkoolhaas  mexico  mexicodf  df  design  architecture  mexicocity 
july 2007 by robertogreco
Office for Metropolitan Architecture
"AMO's work is to develop new models of thinking about systems and to create clearly considered blueprints for change. AMO often works parallel to OMA for the same clients, providing extra services in the domains of organization and identity while, at the
remkoolhaas  oma  amo  design  architecture  bigidea  ideas  systems  organizations  planning 
february 2007 by robertogreco
Wired 8.06: Exploring the Unmaterial World
"Sometimes not building is the right answer, but it is not one that architects are trained to recommend. When appropriate, AMO can even propose the destruction of buildings "
architecture  remkoolhaas  wired  bigidea  design  libraries  oma  amo  space  work  ideas  interaction  unproduct  notbuilding 
february 2007 by robertogreco
The Observer | Magazine | Tim Adams meets architect Rem Koolhaas
"OMA - and its related think-tank, AMO - is in the business of invisible cities."
architecture  design  remkoolhaas  oma  amo  cities 
june 2006 by robertogreco

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