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orange toast: perspectives

Today’s Architecture: Boring or Blank canvas?

It is disturbing to see a group of talented individuals, who have been given the opportunity to create the world, fail to unite together to create change. The architecture world lost two architects this year, Howard Sims and a personal favorite who was loved dearly, Zaha Hadid. She was one of the greatest architects that created change in our field. Zaha Hadid pushed the envelope of quality, function, and design. She was definitely one of the greats. She was honored in Architectural Record, in her city, and by her peers. We have realized that life is short, and many “Starchitect’s” are discussing one of the biggest issues in our field; why architecture has a serious problem today.

As you look within the different cities around the world, you will notice that this generation is facing a crisis that needs more than a pretty building. After spending five to eight years at a university, you graduate with the thought of understanding the idea of form, function, and a large grasp of technology. After you receive your first job, you wish you spent more hours researching how your design will affect the community, how to design within the given budget, and work well with your peers.

As you look around, many urban cities are under construction. One major city that the world is watching to see if it will fail again or dig itself out of a hole is Detroit. Detroit is growing, but there is a generation who still thinks about the past, which then feeds racism and negative debates. The world is changing at a rapid pace, and it is impossible for our field to keep up and adapt. It has become more about profit within a firm and less about all fields uniting together to create a phenomenal space. Every architect, engineer, or designer does not specialize in all facets of design. Which makes one question: If the world is changing at a rapid pace, and buildings are being created at a rapid pace, why aren’t we collaborating with others who specialize in their craft? Why do shopping centers look boring and every multi-family unit look the same? We are failing to communicate to the community and we are only speaking to the client instead of their neighbors. We are also failing to communicate to the generation who lives within these urban fabrics of a major city. This is one reason why crime, poor education, and poverty continue to exist in many urban areas. We are leaving the next generation behind, because we do not spend time discussing what needs to be changed. Many firms have more projects than they can handle and they continue to take more work, because it becomes more about ego and less about changing the next generation.

We as designers, architects, and engineers, have the power to create an atmosphere where schools can be an exciting place to learn; where workplaces can be a place of fresh air; or residential neighborhoods can be a place where all kids are able to unite together and have fun. These places can all exist within every city, but it starts with communication. If we continue to build within cities without communication, we will have a larger problem than displacement. We will continue to teach the next generation about poverty, the lack of equal rights, and how to ignore their purpose to live.

In our field, there aren’t many engineers, architects, or designers who are women or minorities. Which then sparks a debate in our field of being treated unfairly. Coming from a diverse family culture, of Korean, African American, Caucasian, and Indonesian, I have learned that communication helps an individual move forward. If our field continues to ignore what is happening within our own back yard, and within our cities, we will never be able to create for the community.

Yes, the world is full of crime; yes the education system is lacking; and yes architecture isn’t changing, but you can make an impact. You can be the change you want to see in the world. Don’t wait for someone else to do it.

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will” – Stephen King.

13 Jun ’16 by Chandra.Moore

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