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April 15, 2020



Winston Churchill famously said, “We shape our buildings, then they shape us.” That was a reassuring idea for architects, who have long believed that they could define culture. These last weeks may prove the opposite. What shapes our culture, shapes what we build, and what we build shapes architecture. The order is rarely shuffled.

This past month has seen our world dramatically change. A virus exploded into the global population, because in part the world has shrunk: in many places people live in a greater density than ever before. The impact of Covid19 is just the latest extreme break in our cultural evolution, and its impacts are seismic, and will change the way we build things.

These events could mean that our culture is at the beginning of a flattening of a much older curve. This curve did not start with “thought leaders” it was created by commerce and technology. The world has exploded in connection since World War 2. The number of those flying went from 100 million passengers in 1966 to 1.4 billion in 2018. We connected. We became denser, and we became more vulnerable.

What happens to “Density” and New Urbanism in the Post COVID19 world? What happens to architecture’s “International School”‘s base default Canon of Modernism? Will we continue to aspire to an architectural, even cultural Esperanto? Will the vernacular in all aesthetics become desirable? Will our reduced footprint in Mid-COVID19 sequestration be desirable once we all get vaccinated?

Join 3 exceptional thought leaders in architecture, culture and urban visioning. Kurt Andersen helped created Spy Magazine, the Studio 360 Radio program, was the architecture critic of Time Magazine, and has recently written “Fantasyland” among many best selling books. Nikos Salingaros is a math professor at the University of Texas, architecture critic and urban designer, who has written and talked worldwide on all things aesthetic. Patrick Pinnell, FAIA, has taught at the University of Maryland, Yale University, and is an architect, urban designer, writer and speaker on New Urbanism, design and history in architecture.

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