16 luglio 2013

the architects faults

Some people attributes to us, architects and urbanists, the fault of having created the suburbs, building in periurban areas enormous barracks-dormitory, without services and public spaces […]


The architects, we architects have big faults. Inexcusable. The main one is that we thought we could be able to “shape” life, tastes, desires of those who inhabits the spaces we design. This senseless presumption of omnipotence led us to transform very personal utopias in boulders of concrete. But is it so difficult to understand that every time someone accuse us of having generated – we alone - the monsters of urban decay he still feeds this assumption? As if it was up to us architects – called to the Rescue – the solution to the illness caused by ourselves. As if it weren’t healthier to recognize the marginalization and even the irrelevance of our action in the society of the multitude, in the city of a thousand powers […] (Stefano Boeri, L'anticittà, 2011)

If “modern” architects and their disciples suffered and keep on suffering heavy disapprovals from inside, such as those by Boeri mentioned above, we can’t say that contemporary architects are faring better. Labeled by now as archistars (although we did not understand yet which are, considering that all of them disdainfully rejects the appellation and speak of others), they are accused of being too disengaged and egocentric, actually of having completely abandoned the city to itself, finding happiness just in spicing it with their amazing projects.

One of the books most critical in this respect is Against the architecture by Franco La Cecla. I discovered and read recently an interesting interview to him on the blog Wilfing architecture of Salvatore D'Agostino. 
I still haven’t read the book, but I'm curious and I’ll do it as soon as I can; instead of criticizing the great modern architects, he disapproves the contemporaries, so it's updated, but in the "tradition" of From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe and After the modern architecture by Paolo Portoghesi.
From the summary: “Today more than ever the architecture is in fashion… However today more than ever the architecture is far from public interest and affects little and badly on people life improvement”.
I totally agree on self-referentiality of many contemporary architectures, but much less on the theory of their uselessness. I am surprised that a "sopralluoghista" (what a beautiful definition of someone who is at the same time an  anthropologist and an architect!) handles in a so superficial way the theme of the relationship of the new architectures, which are most of the time new services, with the city and the citizens. Also because the eventual futility depends primarily on the client, because the architect, if his job is not an hobby, works for people who pay him, not for ideals or for the party. 

So it is evident that the architects, or however many of them, make self-criticism far-back.
And the clients, those who have decided how to develop the city, do they make it?