What we talk about when we talk about context.
Today's infrastructure and design pedagogies, be they ad hoc or premeditated, must all consider one issue before any other: context. In post-industrial, post-colonial, post-political design environments (not to mention ostensibly post-racial, post-ironic, “2.0” societies of tech-savvy millenials), any discussion of global, international or universal design has to stay in touch with local community and environmental concerns. We've seen since and through the stock market chiaroscuro of the early 2000s that departure from local context leads to architectural disasters. From corporate developers who've cut safety corners (i.e. sub-standard section 8 housing, Bangladeshi sweatshops), to starchitectural hubris (i.e. The Walkie Talkie building), ignoring context is the closest thing the field of architecture has to a cardinal sin.
This week, we spoke with a bi-cultural practice that needs to, wants to, urges even, a greater consideration of context. Archiplein is equal parts Shanghai and Geneva, construction and demolition; operating always on two very disparate political focal points. They make it work with personal initiative and abundant research.
As Paperhouses moves into the penultimate phase of launching a universally-accessible/locally-considered design platform, we want to think both more abstractly and more specifically about the elements that bring life to structures. We hope through interviews and studied looks at the communities in which we share praxes, Paperhouses enables not just a building community, a generative residential platform, but a shared wonderment and appreciation of the möbius strip formed by content and context.