In 2010, the British Conservative government, led by David Cameron, began to recognize the shortcomings of traditional economic statistics in measuring the health of a nation. High GDP no longer meant national prosperity, spending and consumption didn’t necessarily mean all was well in emotional worlds of their consumers. In the wake of the international Happiness Survey conducted annually by polling company Gallup, Cameron induced the United Kingdom’s Office for National statistics to ask the British population: “How satisfied are you with your life nowadays?”
In the build up to our next issue, #56 Playbor, we’ll publish a series of texts exploring not only the data produced by these international surveys, but too the conditions and criteria that defined their questions in the first instance. The task is to explore and deconstruct the terminology, methodologies, and perimeters of these polls and surveys whose goal it is to quantify the qualitative, to measure the ephemeral.
In the Archizoom gallery of the EPFL, Lausanne, this fall ‘Faraway So Close’ is on show, presenting the work of Kashef Chowdhury. Christophe Catsaros sat with its curator, Niklaus Graber to discuss the relevance of this work and subject.
In the Western imagination, Bangladesh is more likely to conjure up images of human and environmental disasters than of quality tropical architecture. Two years ago, the Rohingya exodus was just another in a long list of catastrophes that had punctuated the history of a country with a population greater than that of Russia and a land area barely larger than that of Greece.
Curated by Itinerant Office, the book ‘ATLAS of emerging practices: being an architect in the 21st century’ has just been launched at the New Generations Festival in Rome. Volume editor Francesco Degl’Innocenti sat down with Itinerant Office founder Gianpiero Venturini, to discuss the findings of their research on the European context, and break a few misconceptions about the profession.
How do we live forever? Cultural memory is something which binds individuals together across time and space, creating the sense that although mortal, there is a greater continuity persisting both in the pre-life and after-life.
The establishment of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in 2003 marked a profound shift in the custodial objectives of UNESCO as an organisation and the mechanisms it utilises preserve global culture. Since the introduction of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (WCH) in 1972, Unesco policy had, to that point, been driven and dominated by a single, concise, and ultimately incomplete mandate; namely, the evaluation and preservation of material structures.
In the hierarchy of major themes that shaped the modern spirit in architecture, hygiene, the imperative of a more salubrious habitat and city, is undeniably at the top of the list. With the book ‘X-Ray Architecture’, Beatriz Colomina, historian and theoretician of architecture and teacher at Princeton, chooses to make this a structuring principle, more to do with the fear of death and the repressed unconscious than the spirit of innovation. Is modern architecture as hysterical as that of the Baroque period?
One thing gentrification thrives on is heritage. Whether it is the grand redbrick houses of a run-down neighbourhood, or the rich and diverse culture of working-class areas, the middle-class drivers of gentrification are attracted by a sense of history. But as much as gentrification fetishizes heritage, it consumes it, mutates it, and sometimes destroys it.