A new way of understand and organize an Architectural Practice is growing amongst young Architects all over the world. A project is not anymore the result of a unique genius mind and a uni-personal point of view, but the result of a collective way of thinking, designing and working.
What are the circumstances that have led to this tendency? Is Architecture, after being lost for some time, finding a new path, a new movement? Let´s analyse the possible causes.
Fist, the current economic situation has lead to an unknown situation for the youngest generation of architects. Finding a job is a very difficult task, even more when it comes to find a fairly paid job, not to talk about the idea of trying to build up something by your own.
Second, Architecture just comes out of an incredible fertile period, but incredibly fertile in resources, more than in principles and statements. The “anything is possible” era in which students of my generation were formed is over, and it is the time for us to analyze why, and what are the alternatives.
I all this process Architecture has lost its engagement with society, with people, with the users. The model of a traditional practise lead by a person is becoming obsolete, and a new way is rising, where there is space for multiple voices, for different commitment levels, for a mixture of ideas.
In a first reading, the saying “there is strength in numbers” applies easily to the situation. The way in which young people can face big Architecture production machines, as some of the big offices nowadays are, in a competition, is putting together their effort, making a team.
But is not only that, the fact of being able to work in a horizontal structure gives the work a better chance of being aware of what it is dealing with, and an easier relationship with the final user. This of course depends on the basis of the collective foundation, but is also another advantage, since it allows being very local or truly international. It also allows the team to be multi-professional, where architecture is not the only concern.
Are Architects able to create work in a collective way, leaving aside their personal views? I say absolutely yes. And that doesn’t mean a lack of strength, of concept or ideas in the final project; it means that Architecture is finding new ways of going through difficult times.
In fact, results are already visible. I would like to recommend the work of a collective that has been already around for a while, Recetas Urbanas, and a couple of recent creation that I personally know: Estudio Lunar, in the Netherlands, and LaCol, both doing great work in different areas, and both pushing those boundaries I talked about in the previous entry.