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Make/Shift/Shelter: Architecture and the Failure of Global Systems

Author(s): Stephen Mark Caffey

Journal: Architectural Histories
ISSN 2050-5833

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: Art. 18;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: global economic crisis | history | theory | practice

The unanticipated challenges that architects and architecture face in the twenty-first century are no more daunting than those that plague other professions and other forms of cultural production. Just as these conditions call for a new set of disciplinary and practical flexibilities necessary to undertake on-the-ground architectural interventions in affected communities, architectural historians must make concomitant adjustments in chronicling the new forces, materials, ideas, methods and contexts that drive architectural design in these troubled and troubling times. One might reasonably suggest any number of ways to situate architecture and its histories in the current climate. The approach here taken operates from three critical perspectives: architecture 'in' crisis, architecture 'as' crisis, architecture 'and' crisis. More polemical than prescriptive, this essay poses a series of questions and proposes a set of possibilities regarding the architectural-historical assessment of contemporary practice. Toward that objective, this article addresses the issue of crisis in architecture through a cursory and anecdotal selection of evidence in turn refracted through lenses global and local.
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