Thursday, October 16, 2014

An Excerpt From Karla Britton

By Michael Young

 The influence of regionalism and topography has a large impact on todays’ architecture. The article A Regionalist Panorama for Architecture and Beyond by Karla Britton reviews Liane Lefaivre and Alexander Tzonis’ book Architecture of Regionalism in the Age of Globalization. Many comparisons are made in this article to Kenneth Frampton’s Six Points for Architecture of Resistance.
The question we are all wondering is what social and environmental challenges do we face to help architecture preserve cultural identities in a changing world. An essay by Paul Ricoeur, Universal Civilization and National Cultures, which was published in 1955 foreshadows to what we are experiencing today. He explains that humankind is close to becoming a single world civilization due in large part to immense progress and an overwhelming challenge to accept cultural heritage to a globalizing world.
In the book by Lefaivre and Tzonis’ they touched on how to fight the “flattening of the world’s natural and cultural diversity.” The book explains how regionalism is not only a concept but has turned into a worldview and architectural movement that opposes global forces. I feel there is a strong relation between these points and the six points by Kenneth Frampton. There use to be a regionally based allegiance to the landscape and topography but throughout globalization and history we have lost those characteristics. As  Britton explains, globalization has transformed the natural barriers of the world into a “flat world.”  Regionalism however, “supports the singularity, autonomy and distinct identity of regions, enhancing differences between them, nurturing diversity, and contributing to a world of peaks and valleys.” I agree we have strayed away from our cultural diversity. Everyone is conforming to the modern development of freestanding high-rises and freeways. For example, we are building 100-story all glass skyscrapers out in the middle of the desert because technology and globalization has forced us down that path.  
As Architects we need to get back using the cultural benefits and topography to generate buildings that can only be seen in that area of the world. That’s what makes for great architecture. One main reason people travel the world is to admire the architecture and interact with other societies. But soon, if we conform to globalization, there will be no need to explore the world because everything will become similar. Then as architects we know we are not doing our job correctly.

Frampton, K. Towards a Critical Regionalism. Six Points for an Architecture of Resistence, 18, 29.
 Karla Britton, A Regionalist Panorama for Architecture and Beyond. 1-4

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