REIMAGINING ARCHITECTURES BY CARING FOR INHABITED MILIEUS
The 17th session of Europan has set itself the goal of pursuing the same theme than Europan 16, Living Cities, taking these changes in the content and methods of design further. The aim is to explore the regenerative capacities of living milieus amidst new architectural, urban and landscape ecologies that attempt to overcome the opposition between nature and culture and anthropocentrism during times marked by natural disruptions and a climate emergency. The very possibility of living is now in doubt for all, given the excessive consumption of natural resources by certain human groups to the detriment of the needs of the global population, exceeding what planet earth can replace.
Climate emergency, overexploitation, pollution, inequality and iniquity —all these disorientations demand actions of care that address the coexistence and interrelationship of all the elements of the living world, and thus mandate a radical shift in paradigm. Joan Tronto, one of the chief political theorists of the “ethic of care”, defines care as “the characteristic activity of the human species which includes all that we do in order to maintain, perpetuate and repair our world so that we can live there as well as possible.” This demands an awareness of the affiliations and interactions at work in the situations put forward for the competition. For Europan 17, the contexts demand a change towards a more immersive approach to the conception and production of space, an approach founded in care for living milieus. The habitability of Planet Earth is in question associated both with issues of metabolism (new ways of managing flows of natural elements, materials and human beings with the aim of developing circular economy) and issues of fairness and solidarity (inclusivity of actors in processes) which were already partially operative in the contexts in Europan 16.
Reimagining architectures that are embodied in “visions” and “narratives” of the evolution of sites between present and future
In response to these territorial challenges, it is more than necessary to create complex, global and dynamic spatial reconfigurations in damaged inhabited milieus in order to revitalise biological and human communities.
The care-based approach will lead to a necessary interplay of innovative, dynamic and varied project processes:
— Producing an active understanding of what is already in place, a situational intelligence;
— Repairing mistreated territories/spaces by subtraction and recreation;
— Engage in sober urban projects (reduced land consumption) and in architectural projects that are economical in terms of materials, technicality, energy, attentive to resources in their impact on the Earth;
— Reinforcing, regenerating or creating qualities of hybridisation between nature and culture;
— Linking the scale of strategic and dynamic reflection on territories (the large-scale structuring ecological challenges) with the scale of local spaces and their re-conception (everyday spaces and shared spaces);
— Imagining / creating architectures with a view to the connection between present and future and therefore their production and adaptability over time (sustainable development);
— Tackling projects with a readiness for design and production processes that involve all actors with their diversity and their differing roles.
In order to achieve this complexity, the situations that will be chosen for the Europan 17 competition must be such that the projects submitted can activate in different contexts and at different scales:
— Symbiotic links between the living world and the cultural world, vital relations between human and nonhuman beings;
— Spatial synergies, natural and cultural reconnections at different scales;
— Taking into account temporalities (cycles and rhythms of the living world and the social world) in process-projects.