"What we need to question is bricks, concrete, glass, our table manners, our utensils, our tools, the way we spend our time, our rhythms. To question that which seems to have ceased forever to astonish us. We live, true, we breathe, true; we walk, we open doors, we go down staircases, we sit at a table in order to eat, we lie down on a bed in order to sleep. How? Where? When? Why?
Yes, much broader than that. Essentially, a reconnection with users, even if those users are not the ones financing the buildings per se. Buildings are now speculative tools for users we don’t know. Since we don’t know them, there’s also no dialogue with them and that’s where I think the crux is. We should try to break the almost unbeatable cycle of architecture merely being real estate, being a tool of capital.
If architects were a little bit more open to the people and to participation, they could actually form a vital alliance to counterbalance exclusive and private interests. There is an article about participation and Lucien Kroll’s experiments of the 1970s. Architects don’t generally like the idea of having too many people meddling with their labour, and I understand this instinct. Probably in the 1970s, it was an overdose of something that was already very present. But I think that in the retreat of the public sector the participation of users and particularly users that are not loaded with money could actually be an interesting way to strike a more humane balance.