Cohesion & solidarity in new (.com)unity
The past two years have been rife with unpredictable challenges. We lived, we worked, we thought, we dreamed, and we met in a virtual space that helped us in times of crisis. And yet, we missed what we were used to perceive with all our senses: real, physical spaces, flesh and blood people, friends, family, colleagues.
The immediate consequences: communication has been simplified (some would even say it has become brutalized) and communities have been rediscovered and redefined.
Communities of specialists, colleagues, neighbours, collaborators, families or friends, we have all browsed old albums of photos that housed pictures of ourselves, of our cities and villages, of the houses, gardens and parks that are the landmarks of our lives.
This defined unexpectedly warm public spaces, platforms that allowed everyone to anchor themselves into a new reality, as well as examine one’s own profession and analyse what is necessary to change in it. All related to a pandemic that can transform us, surprisingly or unsurprisingly, into community people, into architects attuned to the needs of the community.
But we found ourselves in a situation in which we, as professionals, were facing a reality for which we were not sufficiently prepared. Architectural programs with inadequate legislation, insufficient details and materials, needs exacerbated by the pandemic have thrown us in the deep end of a reality that requires us, indeed pressures us, to unite and become aware of our belonging to a community as a priority of our profession.
Hospitals, schools and all education buildings, commercial spaces and public spaces are just some of the architectural programs that require our presence.
Upon our returning to the familiar physical spaces of work, leisure, or transitional spaces, architectural interventions are perceived much more acutely as elements generating community comfort or discomfort - when not connected and harmonized with the city and the community. We are more aware now of the type of discomfort that is not personal, individual, but has community impact and can lead, in extreme situations, to anarchy.
Now perhaps more than ever, architecture must be defined by connection (as opposed to separation), collaboration (rather than individualism)!
The rhythms of life have been modified and prioritised according to new criteria. What is the impact of such transformations? Are we changing our course? Do we have benchmarks and values strong enough to adapt to the new needs that our communities face?
Was "moving" into virtual space (.com) just a gesture of despair that left us empty-handed, or did it generate if not the essential attribute..., at least the need for unity, cohesion, and solidarity?
This is the debate that we will engage with, while invoking strong arguments and specific examples, as part of BATRA 2021.
Arh. Daniela Maier
Curator Transylvania Architecture Biennial 2021