Ok so I havnt had time to read all the critiques and or thoughts on the final proposals from the workshop, but I will update my final thoughts then. In Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, part of MoMA’s Issues in Contemporary Architecture series, six teams of architects, economists, public policy experts, and housing advocates were challenged to “engage in a rethinking of housing and related infrastructures that could catalyze urban transformation.” The investigation also sought to “begin a conversation,” on the “recent” foreclosure crisis by examining suburban housing paradigms through five sample megaregions. The teams where not looking to solve the current crisis but work as a catalyst to push the issues into conversations accross the country.
In February, an exhibition of architectural models, videos and descriptions of their ideas opened at the Museum of Modern Art. There was an open panel discussion held on March 8 for the architects to answer questions and discuss how they truely felt about the future of these developements. When all was said and done there were six unique projects but what caught the attention of most was the shear scale of their proposals. This emphasized that the issue at hand was much greater than maybe what was first conceptualized , that to propose a incremental shift within this suburban framework would not be dramatic enough to change the course of time, or is it. Although neighborhoods look like a grain of sand on a map “…they are the result of processes that took hundreds of years to evolve.” Does this really call for the need of a grand proposal? Yes it is true that it would be very difficult to change zoning laws to permit denser new development patterns but is there not an inate power nestled in a simple architectural infill.
The economic and demographic factors at hand may seem emense but I am not sure that a revised American Dream could not have an equally great influence. Guy Horton of author on Archinect comments that he does not believe architects have the power to dictate a solution to the crisis, ” To them, this is further evidence of the irrelevance of what architects have to offer in terms of solving real problems. “ I am afraid to say that manny others feel the same that architects are along for the ride as much as anyone else, architects are not problem solvers. Really? Of anyone who has been trained day in and day out to make something out of nothing. To merge the gap between reality and imaginary we are the innovators those with visions of a different future. Yes we may not be able to single handedly solve major issues but we are in a great position to express our thoughts on a global scale. I think we are selling ourselves short over humbling our potential to make an impact on the future. ” In architecture we have become inured to the special effects of formal bigness and dramatic constructs. “ but isnt this not a perception stemming form those ideas burried in the American dream. This maybe exactly where we need to start initiating a shift, why BIG, why More? In the end the architects apart of the workshop are just adding to something already dead. This unsustainable template has been passed down as a ritual and we are blind to its presence. Ok this is just the beginning I will write more on the actual projects to come…stay tuned.