A SLOW MANIFESTO for the guests from White Artkitektur
The manifesto for [White Arkitekter] is about slowness.
It is about positioning the Architect as an agent of providing moments of stillness and time to react.
It is about seeing value without having to calculate it within economic terms or even terms that are necessarily calculable. It is about words such as messy, organic, incremental and overlapping that will not be used forthwith.
We [herein referring to the architects visiting from White Arkitekter] see the forces of economic globalisation and the commodification and displacement of small, intimate and overlapping communities. We see this as at least equally destructive – socially, morally and spiritually – as the city plans derived from the radical functionalist Utopian visions of the modernists. We see this and we name it.
We see the value of existing structures – the value to those who live within them – of the old and also of the complexity created by the sometimes slow insinuation and sometimes messy overlaying of the new.
We are not necessarily guardians of the old, the final bastion of the existing, the antiquarians fighting the inevitable tides of new technological and market valued overlays and urban transformations. In the face of global environmental disaster Architects can be a useful force.
We see the value of what we have and wish to capture that in some incremental way.
We will use our skills and value within a marketplace (as it is measure in pejoratively economic terms) to be a useful force in the small moments that we have before everything is decided.
We believe in creating slow places – brief moments of relief in which we can take a breath – like a fridge in the Arctic. We will tread lightly among the public spaces that we value and use our skills as architects to prod and push and pull and tug at edges to create slowness.
We will provide those who may or will be displaced brief respites to reflect on their agency within the city and to make connections to existing actors and communities to increase their agency within the public realm.
We believe that there are still these spaces in which we should play out the tension and reconciliation of the effects of globalisation and local specificity.
What drives you? what motivates you?
My Father was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease over 20 years ago. His disability is defined not by just his symptoms but the pace of life as defined and dictated by the modern world.
I am driven by a hot anger, and motivated by the cold anger. It is from a place of intense passion and emotion that catalyzes a methodical approach to achieve empowerment, justice and accessibility in the field of design.
What are your ultimate goals?
To improve lives, to progress understanding of the use and benefits of public space. To provide justice to discrimination as a result of the built environment.
Key words: Progress, innovation, accessibility, justice, equity, equality, reparations, empowerment, mobility. Anti-racist, classist, sexist, capitalist, materialist, etc. etc. To achieve play in work, in the experience of cities, in the use of space.
Why are you an architect/planner/designer/…?
To remove barriers. To create. To heal. To right wrongs. To innovate.
Write your own manifesto
The Designers Manifesto:
To design for all, is not to design equally. To create design which is accessible, engaging, transformative, and empowering.
Recognize sources of power and their influence of design process.
To engage meaningfully with the powers that be to disrupt the unequal relations of power.
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.” -Assata Shakur
I am an empath. In caring for others I learn to look after myself. I believe everything and everyone is connected; we all share the same animus. And in this way we are beholden to one another. I am responsible for you and you are responsible for me. I will (almost) always choose to feel more, even if it sometimes means feeling more pain. I have always felt the pull of a vaulted space; its power to elevate the soul. I believe that a space to feel safe and secure is fundamental for anyone.
I like the inherent challenges, complexities, and impossibilities of being a designer. I enjoy the requirements of being an architect: zooming in and out of scales (endlessly), interdisciplinarity every day, engagement with both reality and theory (hopefully), and the built environment’s difficult relationship to people. Within this there are still many things that I have not sorted out for myself, but I think the continual process of trying to figure out my relationship to the field is important. It’s also a bit tiring but I think it’s one of the reasons I have not left it yet.
I enjoy the materiality and aesthetics of a beautiful building (especially Japanese detailing) but at the moment I am most interested in programming. I think people care about program before materials and I’d like to pursue the ways that architects can be more involved in the decision making, research, and strategy related to program. It shouldn’t be either/or but I’d like to see what happens when a bigger emphasis is put on the development of it within the design process.
Accessibility and inclusivity of design
Awareness of space and context
Movement through the built environment
Materials, textures and transparencies
Forms, their functions and contextual relationships
Spatial Relationships -> people to buildings, buildings to buildings, buildings to environment
To provide accessible, thoughtful design to the built environment while responding to users needs.
Design is a lens through which to see the world. Design is expansive, if successful the world/people/places will be healthier/inclusive/comfortable. I aspire to make a positive difference with successful designs. Subjective? Yes. Lofty? Yes. Achievable? I still think so. These aspirations motivate me, an insatiable desire to learn and expand my thinking motivates me. The fear of stagnation, or worse – regression, motivates me. Failure is not an inhibitor, failure is a lesson. The ultimate failure is to not learn from prior failures.
What strikes the imagination most about the theories of Isaac Newton is not the subjugation of all things and people to the immutable effects of their own weight, but rather the delicate balance of forces that allows celestial bodies to float in space.
Within the composition and arrangement of material things there exists a possibility for lightness that exceeds the mass of problems and the gravity of their solutions.
Design is the name of this possibility; the revelation of antimatter both within and in spite of the matters that produce it.
Things I am motivated by:
-functionality. I love usability and function.
-aesthetics or whatever
-being some version of clever + logical in approach
-good process (collaborators and I get on)
-good process (clients + stakeholders feel heard)
-good process (a good combination of new and old. the end result is a genuine surprise.)
-the conservative avant-garde (I impress my peers while being able to explain project to my parents)
Things I am scared of and avoid:
-making aesthetic decisions without a reason for them
-committing before I know it's the right way forward
-being unoriginal and without a new concepts and having to focus on craft as what I bring to the project
-having an idea that involves having to do a lot of tedious craft work
-not being seen as clever / smart / logical
Some of this is a little flimsy, as I think between fields of straight graphic design and more spatial design/urban design