The United Nations and Self-Help Housing in the Tropics

Authored by: Nancy Kwak

The Routledge Companion to Architecture and Social Engagement

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138889699
eBook ISBN: 9781315712697
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315712697-6

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Abstract

“Architecture is rediscovering its social conscience,” New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff (2010) commented in 2010 after viewing a groundbreaking exhibit on architectures of social engagement at MOMA. By the early twenty-first century, social, economic, and environmental issues had become too pressing to ignore for many in the field; words and phrases like “collaboration,” “democratic design,” “humanitarian architecture,” and the “social good” became the new language of architects who subscribed to the art of “giving a damn.” In 2016, Tom Pritzker praised that year’s Architecture Prize winner Alejandro Aravena (2016) for “pioneer[ing] a collaborative practice that produces powerful works of architecture and also addresses key challenges of the 21st century,” for “show[ing] how architecture at its best can improve people’s lives.” “Pioneer,” “rediscovery”—such words signaled a new moment had arrived, that architects had opened their eyes once more to the larger purpose and mission of their field.

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