What defines art, what defines architecture? Is there common ground and are there borders? Some relevant and contextually appealing questions we can ask ourselves when thinking about building the future. We all have our ideas about how something should look, whether it likens to a style or to an image created from fiction, there is a strong chance that our ideal building is a little like something we've seen before. That's understandable, we could of course imagine any kind of crazy shape and call it a building only it won't necessarily be our ideal one. When art comes into the equation, we always want to include an element of humanity in a project in order to give it a certain personality.
Naturally a designer wants people to be able to see a design and say “Yes, I know who built that”. Architects are no different in this regard.
MVRDV are an architecture company that specialise in preparing urban environments for the future. They want to bring the run-down and forgotten into the new today with fundamentally modern and yet aesthetically gorgeous presentation. Possibly the root cause of the mostly unsightly brutalist legacy was that in predicting the future and using concrete left little room for pleasant personality. This time, atmosphere and appearance have been given key thought. That's something that I think is of great importance.
In South Korea's Seoul, a recent MVRDV project has been completed called The Imprint. Off-the-wall angles and oddly folding extremities on the buildings give a psychedelic effect to their structure. The abstractly sculpted buildings form a network of attractions/venues which make up part of the larger Paradise City Complex, near the main city airport. Clearly there to be seen and walked around, each individual building is a monument to the world of design and creative expression.
It doesn't have to be left up to big firms to complete much needed regeneration works in urban areas. When communities get together and work with local authorities, great things can be achieved from the ground up. It doesn't have to be up to big government to reach down and, with often over-bearing hands, put everything how it should be. There are equally as capable people on the city-centre high streets, walking past the places that could do with extra care. We can all apply ourselves to brightening up our own communities. An interesting report from the Center for Community Progress and Metris Arts Consulting in the USA shows that communities received great rewards from allowing and backing local artists to culturally renovate disused properties.
Everyone enjoys the benefits of having clean and good looking neighbourhoods. We all have a role to play in the facilitation of bringing what is around us into the modern standard we want. From remembering to use the bins to volunteering to be part of a larger project, there's always opportunity to socially invest. Perhaps write to the local council and ask them about your ideas, it might be the start of something. Images via Inhabitat.