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Housing…What next?

Every single architecture student knows what lectures are taking place in, at least, 3 architecture schools: AA of London, HU-GSD in Cambridge and, hopefully, their own school. Since I recently moved to Boston for my Master of International Marketing, I decided to pick up on my architecture background and attend as many architecture lectures as possible. My first lecture of this year, yesterday: “Housing…What next?” at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

The lecture was organized as an opening for the current exhibition in the Harvard School of Design Hall, “Living Anatomy” is hosting. Four architects, with different approaches, talked about what housing was and is, and try to call out that architects should put more effort in its theoretical and formal development. (more…)

New Opportunity Spaces Lecture

Have we ever thought about what would happen if architects learned form life and not from a bunch of different classes in architecture school? Would the containers be more aware of it’s surrounding rather than of the architectural society that every modern city has? There is beautiful designs in fancy design magazines. However, which of these have really changed after the crisis. Even, have architecture schools changed?

It’s easy to set a common program for students to discuss and solve. But, unfortunately, economy has changed our world in major ways. We now have collaborative open source projects, we have bit coins, and, furthermore, we have abandoned architectural containers that are not yet being used by society, architects. 
And rather than just changing things from scratch, why don’t we just reprogram what we already have. Create new opportunities in and out of our homes. Do streets have to be government property, or does it have to feel so? Are our homes only ours? Are schools only for kids? Are universities only for students and professors? What is whose?
This is are some of the questions that Xavier Monteys raised with his lecture of “New opportunity spaces” in ETSAB-UPC in Barcelona a while back. Quoting Le Corbusier or Aldo van Eyck as the promoters of the inbetween space. But thankfully there are already some projects trying to enhance this new programming ideas. 

A initiative that describes itself as an opportunity and interest of bringing the music closer to everyone. Possible thanks to friends and neighbors that provide their balconies that will become the scenarios, becoming new experiences for both artists and spectators.
However, we think it is a way to invert roles and stop looking from our comfortable homes but into the stranger’s homes. Opening our homes for everyone and enhancing the idea of the public space inside private containers. Similar to the interior streets Le Corbusier planned in the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille.
Javier Pérez Andújar: “Paseos con mi madre”
This Spanish writer from Sant Adria grown in an active community neighborhood, has just published this amazing book that gathers the conversations with his mother. Beautifully in this book he realizes the power streets have nowadays. How, due to the crisis we have suffered, the city has been the place where we have defended our private homes. A reminder that younger generations that had forgotten.

Despite these of many examples, the comfortable way of acting is still dominant.Will we be courageous enough to change things?


It’s the economy, stupid review

When I was at Senior High School I learned philosophy started in the most peaceful and wealthiest period of the Ancient times. Then, triggered by a lack of worries, who we today call pre-socratic philosophers, started question where it is we come from. They thought water? dust? atoms?
However, today we are in a needed position. Many families have lost their houses, there is high unemployment rated all over the world and we are still in war trying to disarm potential threats. Young people lack the opportunities are parent had, we are forced to move all around the world having to fight through thick and thin to create our own unique paths. And, despite the contrast between the first and the current situation, we are now able to think not where we come from, but WHERE WE GO TO.
Last Thursday, 6th February 2014, Ethel Baraona, cofounder of dpr-barcelona, gave and english spoken lecture in one of the most international educational institutions in Barcelona: IaaC (Institute for Advance Architecture of Catalonia). 
A motivational lecture that made us think for an hour what is that caused this global economic crisis to know how to change it. In fact it is not as hard as it seems, we just need to think we live in a happy world and everyone will sacrifice personal $ ambition for the wellbeing of the planet. But unfortunately, no matter how hard some of us (I am very honestly including myself) try, there is always other willing to step on others like if they were mere objects. And this is, my dearest friends, CAPITALISM. 
Pretty pessimistic for now, right? Well, it wasn’t. It turns out there are many many many project that are trying to make this changes happen. Shifting from COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENTS to CO·WORKING NETWORKS. Some examples:
1- The Free Universal Construction Kit
The Free Universal Construction Kit from Adapterz on Vimeo.

A project that allows interoperability between 10 popular construction toys with 80 adapter bricks, opening the otherwise closed systems. You can download the files and print them with you 3d printer. If someone doesn’t fit you can design your own one and upload it.

2- Open Structures (OS)

Photographs from OpenStructures.net
A modular construction model based on a 4x4cm grid available for everybody.
3- Wiki House

WikiHouse from 00 on Vimeo.

Print whatever house you want (designed by a “open” designer), draw it in SketchUp and click to MAKE A HOUSE button of program’s pluggin and PRINT in a CNC machine.

4- Lamassu. Bitcoin Ventures

Image from lamassu.is

The future’s easiest way to get money without the corrupt banks taking away your money with every transaction. Takes over notes from 200 different countries.

5- Statigraphic Manufactury

A exploration of materials reaction to 3d printers to enable research with the same downloadable file of the use of different local materials from all over the world.

We could keep on going forever, these are just some examples. There are other we use EVERYDAY like Wikipedia that also collaborative projects and we don’t even realize.

But at the end what matter is our personal contribution to this global project. Buying in local stores, being responsible with what we use, and take care, not only of the final result of what we do, but of the process we go through to get there.

Are we going to be able to change the world?


It’s the economy, stupid


So two apparently unrelated things happened to me yesterday. The first one, may seem rather irrelevant, was the post on Facebook about the death of the Hipsters. An article by the GQ Spanish Magazine. The second, a lecture by the cofounder of dpr-barcelona, Ethel Baraona in IaaC, Barcelona.
Let’s say the first was accidental, the second intentional. Superficial – groundbreaking. Time consuming – time investment. I think you get it already. However, Ethel lectures triggered something in me that has reassured me that the article was wrong (not that the article is very serious though…)
Let’s introduce the facts: 1st: hipster will cease to exist. And 2nd, we can change the world by taking brave decisions and worldwide co.working rather than creating competitive atmospheres; and also by taking care of the social impact of the that we consume (a really interesting lecture we will talk more about in the future days).
So, how why do I think the article is wrong?
To me Hipster are those Portlanders who are really true to their values and not just their look. They care about the sustainability of EVERYTHING they use, eat or buy. They ride bikes, recycled bikes, to prevent pollution. They are vegan to safe animals. They buy housemade cosmetics to avoid animal experimentation. And they also avoid “made in China” to ensure the protection of Human Rights.
From what I have learned today, the way we can make our world a better place for EVERYONE (not just us) is by taking care of these details. Using non-polluting energies or materials. Caring for other people’s life. Being a person that truly cares. And to me, those Portland-like hipster around the world are contributing to the growth of this caring quarter of our economy. That which will provide for us.
What is ironical is that all these product are, still, way pricier than regular contaminated-by-despicable-capitalistic-companies products. And, for now, caring is only affordable for those who have enough. Hopefully, the change is close for the many and not the few.