Something is happening. Although coming from different corners of the globe, our contributors and protagonists seem to share a vision. There is an appetite for rawness and authenticity that goes beyond concrete and exposed brick walls – although there is plenty of the former in the mounting movement towards renovation in Japan, which is brought to light in this issue.
Jo Nagasaki, founder of Tokyo-based firm Schemata Architects, describes the discovery of something larger than the architectural ego: ‘We experienced the joy and freedom of constructing something based on our own values and judgments, and we found new possibilities in ordinary things. It made me realize that honesty is the key to encountering something wonderful.’
And more generally, the increasing demand for renovation instead of newly built housing speaks of an intensifying awareness despite the economic situation. In reference to this topic of relevance at Alejandro Aravena’s 15th Venice Architecture Biennale, Rafael Gómez-Moriana describes the field’s ‘turn from extravagance and exclusivity towards common sense and inclusivity’.
In the same breath, Spanish studio SelgasCano turns architecture’s priorities upside down, elevating a mere installation for Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Contemporary Art into a higher purpose as a school in Kibera, a slum in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi. The move lets social engagement prevail over opulence. But fear not, the times of glamour are not over just yet as Patrick Berger brings more champagne to Paris.
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