I think that designers would do well to look at the lessons of the Renaissance, the Italian Baroque, or postmodernism, all of which operated in bad times according to our measure. What do you do when labor is cheap, resources are expensive, and nobody is going to fund many new buildings? You design facades and small-scale urban interventions. Take the Campidoglio. In part, at least, it’s a skin job. But it provided an iconic focus for a resurgent Rome, building on the city’s traditional political center. What can we do for people today? How about allotment gardens on abandoned building sites (or at least those that aren’t too contaminated), so that people can grow their own food, eat in a healthy way, and get some exercise while doing it?
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Excerpted from an interesting interview at Triple Canopy with architectural historian Kazys Varnelis, a recitation of similar suggestions I've made in the past (if to only rub it in):