The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and of ourselves.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Inbetween mass-housing - open spaces of identity?

In spring 2010 Archis is publishing a book on mass housing by exploring the individual places and their social, political and cultural contexts: "There is something uncanny about traveling to places that continously evoke a common, everyday landscape. Art historian Mark Crimson describes traveling between two cities in the world as a 'means to return home as you inevitably pass through airport, ring roads and similar buildings'. The experience of travel today increasingly feels this way. Modern architecture is everywhere and mass housing, epitomizing the principles of modern architecture and urbanism, has truly become a global phenomenon. The prevailing sense of uniformity among global metropolises nowadays is due in part to continously encountering these large machines for living. Mass housing gained poor reputation in the latter half of the last century. A form of collective anxiety regarding the standardized, excessive character of such large scale structures stigmatized many of the projects. Yet mass produced buildings account for a vast production of the world's housing stock."

Over a billion people today live in the pre-fabricated housing and the number is expected to rise to 6 billion people by 2040. Cities are learning how to build faster, cheaper and higher. At the same time the social structure of these massive pre-fabricated environments shouldn't be left unnoticed. The quantity, quality and variety of areas to gather, meet and socialize - the open space inbetween the mass architecture  becomes the key element for potential habitants. Not only does the open space provide place for gathering and meeting or greenery, it should also be a safe by breaking the tensions of the class system.

I am keen to digg deeper into the book next spring and find future potential for open space in the context of mass architecture by studying from existing housing examples all over the world.

Read more about Archis and its interventions...

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