Individuality. Informality. Pluralism

20.09.12 Larisa Tsvetkova:
Most modern living areas in Europe are precisely planned, and constructed at once during a very short period time. Good planning, good architecture. Organized, structured, finished.

The question is if an approach like this is still valid nowadays. If life is getting more and more dynamic and individualistic, can planning and architecture stay fixed?

Location is temporal. People in Europe are mobile. Studying and working opportunities appear here and there, and people are moving accordingly. It is normal not only to change apartments, but also to go from one city or country to another.

Life style is temporal. People are flexible in their lives. There is no collective image of a family life anymore, but there are multiple individual decisions instead. And these decisions are not life-long. Percentage of divorces keeps on growing. Population in Europe is getting older. As soon as children grow up, they want to live separately from their parents. Amount of singles is high. People are getting more and more independent, modern life is individualistic and flexible.
Therefore, living space is temporal. No permanent place or space can be defined. Simultaneously with changing of people’s lifestyles, location, dimensions and qualities of living space are changing through time.
If planning and architecture can address these topics, what could be a suitable approach for modern society? Dealing with dynamics and multiple individuality of lifestyles could mean non-planning and informality. But coexistence of individualities is not enough. Pluralism within one organism is the aim. It means that new planning strategies should be able to create a system that is strong enough to allow more flexibility.


3 thoughts on “Individuality. Informality. Pluralism

  1. It seems like you invoke architecture to change because of needs of society. On the one hand you are right, on the other hand A have a lot of counterarguments against it.
    First of all the is not real international architecture nowadays except big public buildings. I mean cultures in different countries are different, it is still so and we should reckon with it. Therefore there is no talk about architecture in general. It should be about architecture in some particular country, time, circumstances; counting also function of the building.
    Secondary, architecture itself can not reflect a society, yet shape it. For example for me, those thing that you’ve described are bad: “Life style is temporal. People are flexible in their lives. There is no collective image of a family life anymore, but there are multiple individual decisions instead. And these decisions are not life-long. Percentage of divorces keeps on growing. Population in Europe is getting older. As soon as children grow up, they want to live separately from their parents. Amount of singles is high.” – what is good with it? Yes, people are allowed nowadays to live as they want to live without any judging. However it’s means that people are allowed to degraded alone))) Positive achievements are normally not restricted in any culture. So, this freedom is just a freedom to do something bad.
    Moreover, what the prise for this freedom? That people move a lot and lose their relationship: with friends, brotherhood, family. Of cause they meet other new people, but I do not believe that it’s easy to became a real friends shortly. Also a family is one of the most important things in our lives in my point of view.
    I do not ague with your idea in this topic in general, I just say, that before doing something in architecture the deep analysis of its effect should be done.

    1. “It seems like you invoke architecture to change because of needs of society” – exactly. That is very general – for any location or culture.

      My statement about mobility and temporarity is about Europe, this part is not that general anymore. This specific situation is already there, and we as professionals should deal with it.

      As an architect, I am not judging what people are doing with their lifes. Instead, my aim is to find a new approach that would meet people’s needs.

      Of course, my personal opinion is not completely unimportant for my work.I think that freedom is always good. Every person is free to decide on travelling or not, having family or living alone. Nobody has a right to tell other person what to do with her/his life.

      I don’t think that “Positive achievements are normally not restricted in any culture”. In muslim countries rights of women are very restricted. Just an example, driving your own child to school is quite a positive achievement for a woman, but it was (or still is?) forbidden in Saudi Arabia. But I don’t want to go too much into politics in this discussion…

      I think it is very important to define your own role as an architect. In fact, it is not too important. Architecture can not change or shape the society. But it is also not something that has no impact. It is something in between.

    2. In fact, the idea of flexibility and temporarity can also apply to “family” lifestyle. Because families are also not fixed – people come and go, they grow up, get older… People’s lifestyles are much more that the standart typologies – an apartment and an single-family house.

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