Year-End Issue: Policy vs Practicality, Practice vs Principles, Progress vs Planet
Dear FuturArc readers,
“Words mean more than what is written on paper. They need the human voice to give them deeper meaning.” Maya Angelou
This was what we attempted to do for this year-ender: to bring forth, through pictures and words, deep-seated (internal and external) relations between different players and variables: between architectural practice and architects’ personal principles; between projects and people; between policy and practicality; between progress and the planet. We hope this endeavour would find a voice beyond the pages, to bring the issues from meaningful discourse to meaningful action.
Between practice and principles, do architects align their ethical and social obligations with the work that they do? Whether designing private homes or public projects, could architects translate their know-how and responsibility to ecology, nature and society into good-looking, sensible architecture that looks after not only the occupants, but also the wider community and environment?
Between policy and practicality, Dr Ann Deslandes looked at Quezon City, the most populous city in the Philippines, and the practical concerns it faces when setting up a municipal sustainability framework.
Pictures and words, however, could not fully express the undertones between architects and labourers, which Bhawna Jaimini sought to bring to light. She found out that, even today, the road to building projects based on ethically sourced labour and materials is still the one less travelled.
Travelling to the UK and experiencing its hottest days this year, Nipun Prabhakar admitted his photos could not fully capture the intensity of the heat and glare, nor convey how one’s skin sizzled like his did when he was there. But he lived to tell the tale, with a critique on the local architecture and its effect on heat gain in buildings; and possible resolutions that should be acted on, fast.
Between progress and the planet, should architects and planners still find themselves caught ‘in a dilemma’ between planet-damaging designs and sustainable ones? Or is it really a matter of nonconcern?
Swati Janu, Founder of Social Design Collaborative, recipient of the Moira Gemmill Prize in Emerging Architecture 2022, and this issue’s FuturArc Interviewee, said that today’s economic structure “has led or added to the inequalities and inequities around us”, and since “architecture is a tool of this same system, that is why most practices are responding to the needs of a neoliberal world”. She cautioned with an example of how when architects “bypass processes that are intrinsic to the success of any community or socially conscious project”, things could literally fall apart, endangering the very safety of those for whom the project was designed.
“The architect’s call to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public has a new and broader meaning amid challenges such as increasing climate extremes and social inequity… Every line drawn should be a source of good in the world.” AIA Framework for Design Excellence
Table of Contents
3Q 2023: GREEN AWARDS | CROSS-GENERATIONAL ARCHITECTURE
2Q 2023: OLD IS GOLD
1Q 2023: MOBILITY & TRANSPORT