Globalization and the Decline of Character

Risultato della ricerca: Otherpeer review


Architecture can hardly cope with the universalization of culture increasingly present in the modern world. This universalization has been, as we know, brought about by the technocratic culture sprang from the Scientific Revolution. Husserl, notoriously, has de ned this process as the “Crisis of European Science”. Following him, remarkable phenomenology and existentialist thinkers have reflected on this theme. The impossibility of reducing the complexity of human life and know edge to instrumental standardized procedures is a cornerstone of that reflection and it is, in my view, hardly questionable. Despite this, as we know, the positivistic attitude within present culture is the leading one. Its primacy continues to expand especially in more recent times with the rise of financial capital, this latter, being, by definition, universal. As regard to this, architectural schools are no exceptions. They are places where more than often an awareness of these basic conditions of our age is very low if ever present. Naively, innovation, technical advancements, fastness, communication are considered per se good things without any critical assessment. But architecture has never been as simple as that: an evolutionary procedure based on the mere advancement of technical stances. As we said, architecture is, by its very nature, against universalization, being a contextual and compromised accomplishment, as well as a discipline. Such a critical reflection can open up a view of the peculiarity of the relationship of architecture and context which goes beyond the mere local/global opposition. This kind of critical understanding of the current situation should be brought extensively within architectural schools. It should be the basis on which students should be firstly placed in order to develop their culture. This approach is not only theoretical, it rather has a direct design outcome. This can be achieved in a more specific manner by means of the notion of character. A reappraisal of this notion is, to this regard, quite appropriate. The character of a building, or place or city broadens the performance of architecture making it in real connection to the world. The notion of character that has had a leading role in architectural thinking. It allows to better understand the circumstantial conditions of architecture. It regulates the way these conditions act in the design development. Issues proper of the Mediterranean area such as “low-budget” architecture, or the dense and partly illegal development of cities, or the making of architecture with simple materials have not only a typological outcome but can also be better channeled within the realm of character – i.e. the actual interact of abstract discipline with the complexity of the real context.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine3
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2017


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