Architecture has always been intimately intertwined with its social, political, and economic contexts; major events in world history have had correspondingly dramatic effects on the discipline. The Great Depression, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Hurricane Katrina, for example, were all catalysts for architectural response and resulted in a diversification of the architect’s portfolio. Yet far too often, architects simply react to changes in the world, rather than serving as agents of change themselves.
This issue of Perspecta—the oldest and most distinguished student-edited architectural journal in America—takes a broader view, using the concept of agency to explore the future of architecture. The retreat from liability, the barricade of theory, and the silos of specialization have generated a field that is risk-averse and reactive, rather than bold and active. Instead of assuming that architects can only throw up their hands in despair, the editors of this issue of Perspecta invite them to roll up their sleeves and get to work.
In Perspecta 45, prominent architects, scholars, and artists investigate how architects can become agents for change within their own discipline and in the world at large.
Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen—Architect as organizer or the way the world works
Nader Tehrani—The agency interview: three schools of architecture
Ines Weizman—Dissedence through architecture
Jaime Lerner—Cities, agency and change
Urban-Think Tank—A conversation south of the border
Stefano Boeri—Architecture is/as politics
Peter Eisenman—The agency interview: The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (IAUS)
Michael Osman—The managerial aesthetics of concrete
Darryl Collins—Vann Molyvann: situating the work of Cambodia’s most influential architect
Vann Molyvann—The agency interview: the litany of power, the legacy of modernism
Enrique Ramirez—An aerial pax americana
Rania Ghosn—Where are the missing spaces? The geography of some uncommon territories
Victor van der Chijs—The agency interview: expanding the field
Bjarke Ingels—Public participation extreme
Andrew Shanken—The tree in the system: shifting urban paradigms in mid-century London
Timur Galen—The agency interview: the demands of a design-minded client
Perspecta 45 & Pierluigi Serraino—Creative architects: an introduction to the archives at the Institute of Personality and Social Research
Thomas Auer, Joshua Vanwyck & Erik Olsen—Sustainability beyond LEED: integrating performative daylight in the built environment
Preston Scott Cohen—The agency interview: architecture as the instrument
Ariane Lourie Harrison—Le Corbusier: architect, agent de propagande