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Contemporary and avant-garde culture, countervanguardia and perhaps underground culture, pop culture and some types of subculture as well as any anti-mainstream movement are likely to advance the evolution of aesthetic (if still existing) and thought issues and their own definition It implies this subversive positioning.

It is difficult to clearly state what a thing is and what is not; when a medium or vehicle ceases to be a minority and countercultural to become a mass medium and its greatest influence therefore starts it from the underground scene to deposit it in the mainstream boring mainstream that immediately ceases to interest.

Installed in this post-structural disbelief and with the gripping and rigorous speed that Virilio announced, we find that some current ideas and concepts have begun their decline before reaching their zenith and fall out of favor before they have been squeezed to their ultimate consequences.

One of them is pessimism about the crisis. On the one hand, those who speak of it with all their harshness are accused of catastrophists and agorers, not only in the general scope of the economy but also in the particular of the architect’s profession, criticizing even the loss of aura and brightness that the collective suffers because of it. On the other, great opportunities for change are announced when referring to the current situation as an unbeatable and insurmountable opportunity to change and reinvent itself. That is, it is not convenient to talk about reality too much, if it is negative, and you should bet on an unbeatable future that is undoubtedly to come just by thinking about it.

Another is the sustainability, perhaps one of the words that worse luck is running and that in spite of being in all the agendas, it moves from one to another exhausted and without any brightness, worn before being used, reviled by the countercultural forces that They have detected the deceit of the large corporations and governments that use it as a flag of their ineptitude while below them slide the usual and countless miseries of always. Thus, they urge us to save water in daily and personal consumption without notifying us that our savings are insignificant compared to the expense of the industry or they push us to replace the incandescent bulbs of our homes with low-consumption lamps whose cost has triggered the manufacturer lobbys who have supported awareness campaigns that in parallel gave us the opportunity to, for a little money, be ecological. Sustainability has died before a change was made and lies in a prison of solar and green panels.

Finally, we would like to talk about the community. Recently we had news of a huge competition in Taiwan won by an almost equally large team of Spanish architects, a great example of organization and determined commitment to achieve an impossible goal a priori. Next, along with a few congratulations, critical and laughter voices were raised that despised the collective nature of the work done and insisted on the true partial authorship (of the signatory architects) that, in the opinion of the always anonymous commentators, had naively used the other participants in the project in which they appeared as collaborators, either because they are not yet architects or because in reality the team had been formed from an idea led by a few and not by the collective unanimously.

Again the destruction of a possible idea before it materializes or develops in its entirety. The disbelief and apotheosis of indifference and contempt. In spite of this, he is left who leaves his hiding place, leaves anonymity, adds, takes action, speaks, listens, attends and participates, expands his own circle of us and assumes a critical position, perhaps weak, but committed to the hope and hope for a better world in which it is necessary to talk about crisis, sustainability and collective.

bRijUNi architects (Beatriz Villanueva and Francisco Javier Casas Cobo).
Riyadh (Arabia Saudí), October 2019

Article originally published in The Living City in February 2011.


bRijUNi arquitectos

Beatriz Villanueva es Doctora arquitecta en Proyectos arquitectónicos avanzados, Máster en Arquitectura, Master en Proyectos Arquitectónicos Avanzados por la Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid y Máster en Gestión de Espacios Virtuales por la Fundación Camuñas, Escuela de Arquitectura del C.E.U., Madrid..

Francisco J. Casas es Arquitecto, Master en Análisis, Teoría e Historia de la Arquitectura y PhD (ABD) con su tesis “Fundamentos Historiográficos, Teóricos y Críticos de los años 50” dentro del Departamento de Composición Arquitectónica (ETSAM).

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