Professor in Residence, Department of Architecture, GSD, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA
With this open issue of our journal, and after the themed issue of Fall 2020 on “healthy urbanism” related to the particular global condition caused by the COVID pandemic, we return to explore research areas that have characterized our mission. Starting though with a special treat: a cross-disciplinary conversation on Baukultur in our contemporary time. Moderated by neuro-scientist Michael Arbib, a leading figure within the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, the conversation that opens this issue brings together a variety of thought leaders, including distinguished researchers, critics, architects, and educators.
We then present design explorations primarily guided, though in different ways, by digital technology in the projects by Ian Ritchie and his team, William Sarnecky and Michael Hughes, and Vera Parlac. The push towards the future is further investigated in what we can expect in terms of interstellar architecture, as explored by Maríasun Salgado, Belén Butragueño, and Javier Raposo. All the while without losing sight of our current challenges: hence the contributions on food hubs by Steven Luoni, sea-level rising related environmental issues by John Sandell, sustainable waste management by Catherine De Almeida and landscape urbanism for coastal areas by Carla Aramouny.
We complete our offerings with what has been a recurring theme of our journal: an on-going re-appraisal of the legacy of Modernism and of the Modern Project. In this issue, we look at the legacy of the Bauhäusler in Chicago, with Kristin Jones and Zaida Garcia-Requejo, and at an even earlier season, at the foundation of Modernism (the Deutsche Werkbund and its cultural debate) with Bilgen Dündar. We are not a journal of architectural history, but we gladly host investigations into the genesis and the transformations of the Modern project as they help us better understand our current challenges and equip ourselves with the necessary conceptual tools.
We close the issue with a few reviews: for two books dealing (again) with the legacy of Modernism (Brian Ford on Modern Architecture and Climate by Daniel Barber, and Robert Weddle on Chicago Modern by Susan Benjamin and Michelangelo Sabatino), and for two other books dealing with the still unresolved issues in the ethos of Modern architecture: the question of race (Diane Ghirardo on Race and Modern Architecture by Irene Cheng et al. and Building Character by Charles Davis II).
Finally, my review of the exhibition dedicated by the Milan Triennale to Carlo Aymonino, an influential figure in Italian architecture, whose works and research, have not received the recognition they deserve. With this review (and a forthcoming report on an international symposium held in late June at the Sapienza university in Rome), we want to encourage further scholarship and studies into Aymonino’s works and help bring his legacy to the attention of an international audience. Another example of a “thinking architect,” as Aymonino liked to see himself, and as we like to imagine our readers are.