Back issue for magazine - Conditions 0410


This issue of CONDITIONS is an investigation into the production of added value in architecture. The economic crisis has put architecture under increased pressure. Everybody wants “more for less” from architecture. The promise of “more” is everywhere in the world of architecture. Architects are in danger of getting reduced to mere service providers, unless they are able to increase the ambition beyond the given assignment. In most countries, citizens pay tax, or VAT, for healthcare, social services, education, and to contribute to society in general. It is a system taking care of, and ensuring the welfare of the citizens. What is the VAT of architecture? Should the architect take on the moral responsibility of securing the common good? Ambitious architecture goes beyond the primary needs of shelter and buildings, always trying to climb the peak of the Maslow pyramid, satisfying needs and questions never expressed. In this perspective, architecture is a surplus phenomenon, sometimes even a sign of excess. What is the right, or appropriate, strategy to ensure the production of common values within architecture? The articles and interviews in this issue of CONDITIONS offer many different perspectives and opinions on the production of added value in architecture. Together they form a multidisciplinary approach to the theme. Topics covered include the economic value of architecture as production of surplus; the social responsibility and engagement of the architect in ethical terms; possible new public dimensions of architecture; the non-standard solution as a right to difference; historical heritage as cultural surplus; as well as practical solutions for achieving more with limited resources.

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