It makes me uneasy when architects replace physical models with computer renderings, replacing a centuries-old craft with software-driven images that pander more to marketing and promotion than exploration and abstract thinking.
Having wrapped up client meetings in New York City, I had some time to myself. With nothing on the agenda, no one to meet, not much in particular to do, I put on walking shoes to wander this island of Manhattan. In a day and a half, I visited 20 architectural works, walking 44,631 steps. Doing the math, that is nearly 20 miles.
Do we need architects to create architecture? With artificial intelligence (“AI”) the answer is yes and no.
There is a fascination with how an architect, in a single first sketch, can capture the entire concept of a proposed project. Is such a sketch evidence of inspired genius blasted onto paper within seconds vs. a mere doodle of no concern vs. smoke-n-mirrors and good salesmanship?
Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri (1919-2013) envisioned an experimental artist colony known as Arcosanti, The Urban Laboratory. Soleri’s ideas of “Arcology,” a combination of architecture and ecology, created a walkable, compact, hillside town, which counters urban sprawl and eliminates the reliance on cars. To what extent has the vision been realized? What is the message/myth/marketing vs. reality?
It is often said that history is cyclical; when humanity disregards the lessons of the past, we are doomed to repeat it. Racism against Asians has been on the rise. Individuals continue to be under threat. As a society, we have not learned from past failures, and we are bearing witness to history repeating itself. Round and round, the past returns to haunt us. This destructive circle must be broken. If not, history has taught us nothing, and the past, which has become the present, will continue into our future.