A New Ecology of Practice
To start a new ecology of practice, we have to overcome the common perception of architecture as a disciplines that design merely buildings. The global challenges we face are too complex to be solved by individual specialists. In recent decades architects have been sidelined to the a role of assisting neoliberal spatial production. Architects became complacent in being the executors of regulations, spatial programs, and building products. Because of this, the potential architecture as a method was reduced to the design of meaningless global objects.
We start fresh with architecture as a tool to investigate and understand our complex world. To engage with this condition of unprecedented complexity, we can use the approach of care: designing opportunities for human interactions, inclusive spaces and spatial ecosystems. Architecture can be understood as a tool to influence this interconnected web of relationships, evolving over time. Using our skills as architects we can find relevant answers to questions and conditions of contemporary society.
Patterns of care can be directly implement into architectural projects. On the community level a village transforms an old community hall into a new center for health, elderly care and a kindergarten. Or an urban cooperative housing project, where inclusive apartments become an integral part of the overall structure, allowing multigenerational living. These implementations of care can not be superimposed, but need a careful observation of the existing context and an activity from within.
In the university curriculum the approach of care in architecture requires a new skillset. Knowledge on the interdependency of people, animals, plants, and objects. With this approach architecture systems becomes in integral part in its economical, social, political, and cultural framework.