Rebuild, reinhabit, rethink
2022 July 22
Photo: Mikel Blasco. 'Divergent transitions, intervention by Tarte Arkitektura
We live in convulsive times, of ecological crisis, health crisis, economic and social crisis... Times of great challenges for which we need urgent, imaginative and transformative solutions. Times in which it is urgent to rethink how we inhabit the world and how we will survive in it in the near future. Times that should also serve us to rethink the city and the need for renewed architecture and urbanism, which overcome the current socio-spatial inequality and environmentally unsustainable development.
The world has relied too much on growth as the only way to progress, and yet this way of living has come to an end for years now. The future cannot be sustained on the same foundations on which we live nowadays.
In 1951, in a context of destruction and subsequent reconstruction, the German philosopher and thinker Martin Heidegger recognized, in the text 'Building, dwelling, thinking', that we have lost the ability to dwell the world and that, only if we are capable of dwelling, we can build. In his essay he cites that the Old High German word for building, 'buan', means 'dwell', which means 'remain, reside'; and that 'dwell' means at the same time 'shelter' and 'care'. Heidegger concludes that the fundamental feature of dwelling is caring.
American anthropologist Margaret Mead considers that caring was the first sign of civilization that helped us evolve as human beings. If we look at the etymological origin of the word 'care', we observe that it comes from the old 'coidar', and this from the Latin 'cogit?re', which means 'to think'
Back in the present, the philosopher Marina Garcés comments that our time is the time when 'everything ends': “Progress ends, the future as a time of promise, development and growth. Resources, water, clean air, ecosystems and their diversity are running out”. Faced with this situation, relevant personalities of science and thought affirm that, if we want to survive, we must think differently
Today, the reflection on reconstruction and the need to attend to the relationship between building, living and thinking, to which Heidegger referred, regains meaning, and it is necessary to review it from the current context of urgency and emergency. Because it is in this context of urgency that a form of bold and disruptive creativity emerges, capable of helping us survive on this planet. An emergence of organizations, companies, institutions, collectives, architecture studios and new talents that propose ways of understanding the design of the spaces we inhabit in terms of sustainability, inclusiveness and care for the environment. New or updated ways of understanding architecture and its disciplinary diversity. That of those who understand that this is a polyhedral, collaborative practice with shared responsibilities. An architecture that is designed together with its inhabitants, taking into account the specificities and identity of the place in which it is located. That understands that its construction affects the territory and the people. An architecture that, being daring in its design, is capable of reducing the consumption of materials and using available resources in a sustainable way. An architecture that is built on the pre-existing, that protects, cares for and interweaves relationships. An architecture that serves to activate thought. An architecture that, according to the architect and curator Hasim Sharkis, alludes to the need of listening and responding to problems, instead of imposing criteria from a vanguard that turns its back on the world's problems. An architecture that is flexible and adaptable to the needs of uncertain times, in which it has been shown that reality can change abruptly and unexpectedly. In short, an architecture that inhabits change.
The Biennial as an open and participatory cultural infrastructure
It is in this context of crisis and opportunity where we open a space to rethink the role of architecture in this change of era, its responsibility in the inherited situation, its capacities for transformation, its areas of action, its spatial, economic, political and social dimensions. It will be from a Biennial conceived as a cultural infrastructure open to citizens and to the group of urban life participants, to generate conversations and reflections that connect us with the debates that are taking place at a global level. A border meeting place that allows us to transit between the urgencies of the moment and the emergence of proposals that project us towards possible futures