By Andres Lepik
The role of the global architect in society is changing. Instead of waiting for commissions to come their way, architects are initiating and developing practical solutions in response to the dramatically changing living conditions in many parts of the world today.
>Small Scale, Big Change focuses on a central chapter of this shift, presenting recently built or under-construction works in underserved communities around the globe by 11 architects and firms: Elemental; Anna Heringer; Diébédo Francis Kéré; Hashim Sarkis A.L.U.D.; Jorge Mario Jáuregui; Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton & Jean Philippe Vassal; Michael Maltzan Architecture; Noero Wolff Architects; Rural Studio; Estudio Teddy Cruz; and Urban Think Tank.
Without sacrificing concern for aesthetics, these architects have developed projects that reveal a post-utopian specificity of place; their architectural solutions emerge from close collaboration with future users and sustained research into local conditions. The projects-which include schools, parks, housing and infrastructural interventions-reveal an exciting change in the longstanding dialogue between architecture and society, as the architect's roles, methods, approaches and responsibilities are dramatically reevaluated. They also offer an expanded definition of sustainability that moves beyond experimentation with new materials and technologies to encompass larger concepts of social and economic sustainability.
Small Scale, Big Change examines the evolving standards of responsibility and participation in architecture and the ways in which architects can engage critically with larger social, economic and political issues currently facing communities around the world.
Basel 2010, 25.5cm x 21cm, illustrated, 139pp. Paperback.