Historically, Asia’s architecture has tended to be heterogeneous; each civilization – from the Persians to the Chinese, the Indians to the Ottomans – has contributed to the creation of an architectural cartography that established the spatial organization of cities such as Istanbul, Isfahan, Samarkand, Calcutta, Beijing, and Tokyo, and immensely influenced the architectural traditions of the western continents. Consequently, Eastern contributions to Western culture and architecture deserve significant scholarly investigation. Nineteenth and twentieth century modernism (as evidenced by the modern movement in architecture in the West) dominated the landscapes and cityscapes in Asia, with largely unpleasant results. With the vast urbanization that has taken place in the later part of the twentieth century, the number of megalopolises that have emerged marks a dominant trend around the world. By the end of the twenty-first century, Asia will have the largest number of megalopolises. Recently, architectural traditions and cultures on the continent of Asia have started to stray from modernism. Architects in Asia are now offering alternatives relevant to their specific geographies and cultures.
As part of its expanding activities 2A is now organizing the 2A Asia Architecture Award. This event takes place annually to highlight and celebrate regional and Asian achievements in architecture which will feature awards and exhibitions as well as debates by the participants on the influences and methods. 2A Continental Architectural Award is a critical effort to recognize and acknowledge architects who have engaged in creating and designing buildings and cities in Asia originating from their specific cultural and geographical localities and possess specific quality and characteristics attributable to their local origins. This continent-wide annual award is an attempt to offer long overdue recognition to a whole new class of architects. A specific theme will be determined and announced every year, and the award’s content will be adjusted accordingly.
2ACAA brings up and discusses the following aspects of the contemporary practice of architecture in the world:
• Theoretical visions of culture, customs, politics, economics, history, and other social elements
• Ideas regarding various origins
• Artistic and aesthetic criteria
• Modern life and technology
An architectural style in any region is characterized by the features that make a building or other structure notable and historically identifiable. A style may include such elements as form, method of construction, building materials, and regional cultural character. Most architecture can be classified as a chronology of styles which changes over time reflecting changing fashions, lifestyles, beliefs and religions, or the emergence of new ideas, innovative technologies, or materials which make new styles feasible and possible.
Styles therefore emerge from the history of a society and are evident in the subject of architectural history. At any given time several styles may be fashionable, and when a style changes it usually does so gradually, as architects learn and adapt to new ideas. Styles often spread to other places, so that the style at its source continues to develop in new ways while other countries follow with their own twists, adding or omitting certain features in order to harmonize this new style with their local needs and culture.
European architecture has also been affected and shaped by many factors throughout its history. Major contemporary events such as two world wars, industrialization which lead to massive migration from farm lands to big cities where the factories were centralized . This lead to increased population in urban centers, Furthermore, foreign immigration and emergence of modern technologies have fundamentally affected the course of Evolution of European architecture.
This challenge among others, has caused the European architecture to transform. Today’s European architects have to deal with many dualities and sometimes even paradoxes when trying to design and build a unique new project, because they need to consider their cultural roots while building a modern project which should also be functional and suitable with their contemporary realities and needs.
Some of these challenges are taking into consideration the following dichotomies below.
• Diversity and Unity
Create unity in diversity, And also maintain the diversity and unique features and identities, in the unified continent
• Society and Responsiveness
The euro banknotes reveal a lot about architecture. Its depiction on both sides of the bills – typical buildings on the one side and bridges more exemplary for engineering feats on the other – is a testament to its importance. The bills also prove that this importance stems from architecture’s powers of providing identity: The bridges seem to connect Europe, as does its shared traditional language of architecture or the technological progress interacting with it. If it can define the identity of a whole continent, architecture quite obviously has a great influence on society. It does more than simply stand for itself. It also represents what we stand for. The wielding of such influence demands responsible behavior, and that goes for all aspects of architecture: the aesthetic, functional, social, financial, political and, today more than ever, the environmental aspects.
• Tradition Versus Modernism
the dialogue between old and new, traditionalism and Modernism. Moving forward and Progress is a necessity, because the needs and consciousness of any society are subject to constant change and transformation. Failing to react and respond means stagnation. However, the opposite of stagnation can be equally as harmful and dangerous. When a society accelerates so fast that it cuts off all historic ties and loses its cultural memory, it will also lose its identity. That is not progression, but regression. The idea that helps to avoid both of these is that of tradition. These problems concern the dual role of architecture and urban design in a special way with respect to aesthetic and social discipline. To that extent, tradition is of central importance to architecture. Innovation and identity in architecture are not possible without a responsible and keen approach to tradition. This is as true on the global stage as it is on the regional one.
• Innovation and Identity
Buildings and people have a common trait: an identity. At least, they should have one. A person lacking individual character isn’t necessarily a bad person. But he is uninspiring, lacking uniqueness and a dull conversation partner. Without an identity, no one can or wants to identify with him. More than likely, you wouldn’t even notice him in the first place. The same goes for buildings. A building lacking identity is a bad one, architecturally speaking, because it could just as well be a different one. A good building is always specific. It carries a message. This type of message can take various forms. Architecture can relate something about an individual person, a group, a city, or a country. It can tell a story about the relations between tradition and modernity, culture and nature, aesthetics, technology and function. Purely functional design overlooks the fact that it is part of architecture’s role to create identity. And this isn’t only about being distinctive. One of its noblest and most important tasks is to create an outward expression of identity.
Architecture is art applied to society; it is made for people, not for its own sake. In order to create an identity not just for the building itself, but also for the people around it or using it, two kinds of identity are necessary: People have to be able to identify the building as something special (by its distinctiveness). But they should also be able to identify with it and with its message. Identity creates dialogue, and dialogue creates identity.
Politics, the economy and technology have removed many boundaries in recent decades, or made them more penetrable. Long before the advent of the internet, media theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the often-used term “global village”. But the days of the village have gone. Nowadays it is more appropriate to talk about the “urban globe”: the world population is growing at the same pace as that of the cities. In 2007, for the first time in history, more people lived in cities than in rural areas.
In terms of its population, the world is becoming bigger – and people are living closer together. The word ‘density’ is perhaps the most important keyword for understanding urbanism and its corollary: mobility. The two terms are closely interrelated. Traffic density, population density, density of development – all of these are increasing rapidly.
Thanks to modern transportation technology and logistics, today almost anyone can travel easily to almost any place on earth. Masses of people are on the move at any point in time and meet each other, in particular, at urban intersections: in railway stations and airports.
Today, mobility-related architecture is one of the most complicated building tasks there is. It has to combine the most diverse functions and coordinate a wide range of processes – and all that in a relatively small space and with maximum efficiency. Railway stations and airports link cities with each other and – with respect to their diversity and complexity, and even sometimes their dimension – are themselves comparable to cities. It is not enough to include aspects of security, safety, logistics, leisure, consumption, gastronomy, administration and technology in the design, to mention but a few.
Modern architecture or modernist architecture is a term applied to a group of styles of architecture which emerged in the first half of the 20th century and became dominant after World War II. It was based upon new technologies of construction.
Modern architecture emerged from revolutions in technology, engineering and building materials, and from a desire to break away from historical architectural styles and to invent something that was purely functional and new.
2A magazine and its vision for Europe Architecture Award is that a great European architectural project should take into consideration its roots and identity while at the same time use modern technologies, materials and designs in order to meet the dynamic needs of the contemporary era.
The history of Africa, the oldest landmass of earth and the birthplace of the first humans, tells us the story of the ups and downs of human civilization, the story of triumphs and disasters, which has resulted in the modern day Africa. There might be some politics in showing Africa as an underprivileged continent, which is always in need of international aid. But the truth is that like a water flow, Africa cuts through the hard rocks, struggles and fights against all the odds but in the end, it survives bravely. It overcomes all the ill usages of the outsiders and remains faithful to its own origins.
It can be said that the architecture is the physical resemblance of history in every era, and Africa is no exception. The diversity and the use of nature shown in African architecture is also the acknowledgement of this claim. Many architecture theorists believe that Africa is the leading continent in Contextual and Eco-Design, both in the past and the contemporary era. It may have been some times that the architecture of other continents have been imported to these countries as well as the other goods but now their issue is to go back to their roots and emerge a kind of architecture that is both in harmony with todays lifestyle and also the African identity and nature. The emphasis on “Home-grown” materials is a solution, which is considered by many African architects in order to gain sustainability. Beside these qualities, African architecture also has another feature, which is diversity; it goes from being the junction of eastern and western cultures in the north to being grounded to nature in the south. From the rich legacy of ancient Egypt and Ethiopia that leaves everyone in awe to the emerging architecture of the countries in the southern region.
The following points are the more important challenges that African architecture is facing today:
-Recovery from Colonialism:
Despite the protracted struggle of African nations caused by colonialism and on a larger scale, imperialism, their victories to gain the power over their own countries have generated an atmosphere of hope and development. To design in an African country, all the cause and effects of colonialism should be researched and considered in order to rejuvenate the African spirit.
-Collective Way of Living
In African view, it is a society that forms individuals, but in western view, it is the individuals that form a society. This fundamental difference in viewpoints is the key to a positive contextual design.
Since long ago, Africans have taken nature as an important factor of design into account and used it excellently as a solution to climatic difficulties.
No matter where in the world, a positive architecture is the one that connects with people. If the target audience sees a work of architecture as one of them, figuratively, they will feel free to adopt and accept it. When African architects study in America and Europe and then go back to their homeland to put their knowledge into function, they have to keep in mind that for example, merely designing a building in Bauhaus Style can not connect with people and it should become vernacular.
Historically, North America’s architecture has largely originated from, and identified with, the
architectural traditions of European neoclassicism, and modernism. Successive waves of non-European immigration, a growing appreciation of the qualities of indigenous traditions of the built environment, technological development, population growth, and the realities of global interconnectedness (culturally, economically, and environmentally) all challenge the hegemony of these European traditions of land-use, urban design, and architecture in North America. Consequently, new approaches need to be developed to address these new challenges and circumstances.
Architects, and Urban/Regional Designers have begun to address the above new challenges and circumstances in adaptive and interesting ways.
As part of its expanding activities 2A is now organizing the 2A Continental Architectural Award 2017 (2ACAA). This event will take place annually to highlight and celebrate regional and North American achievements in architecture, and urban design which will feature awards and exhibitions as well as debates by the participants on the influences and methods. 2ACAA is a critical effort to recognize and acknowledge architects, and other designers who have engaged in creating and designing buildings and cities in North America originating from their specific cultural and geographical localities and possess specific quality and characteristics attributable to their local origins. This continent-wide annual award is an attempt to offer long overdue recognition to a whole new class of architects, and urban/regional designers. A specific theme will be determined and announced every year, and the award’s content will be adjusted accordingly.
2ACAA will bring up and discusses the following aspects of the contemporary practice of
architecture, and urban/regional design in North America:
• Theoretical visions of culture, customs, politics, economics, history, and other social elements
• Ideas regarding various origins
• Artistic and aesthetic criteria
• Modern life and technology
South & Central America:
By the 1920s the influence of modern architecture reached Latin America when many specialized magazines, national and international, invaded the region. Brazil and Mexico were the main drivers of modern architecture in the region. This situation came together with cultural questioning European and Central & South American supremacy as the unique source of development, which led to an anti- imperialist feeling which has characterized the region up to the present.
The Mexican Revolution ( 1910-1917), marked the first step by stating the need for modernization. The muralist first created a modern expression with a national accent, which was the first Latin American expression influenced by European pictoric elements, but at the same time totally independent, since it was rooted on local ideas.
Afterwards, architecture played its role, trying to awake in people an innate knowledge based on their historical and cultural richness.
As a result, architecture in that time, intended to search in its past in order to create a proper style fulfilling the needs of modern society.
However, the influence of European pictorial trends and incorporation of modern trends such as Cubism and Surrealism, gave to this architectural expression an avant – garde sense adapted to the site, its landscape and climate.
The idea of regionalism has gained strength in architecture aimed at recovering marginal and even lost local differences. Critical Regionalism appears as a strategy to counteract the lack of significance of today’s architecture. Therefore, it calls on globalization to become the resource for exploration of the latent creative potential that exists in every one of the regions, and to integrate this potential within a new global context.
The issue of architecture in the age of globalization is that, given the increase of foreign influences in a culture, these influences end up being adopted, but not adapted to the context of each region, this creates , in effects, a destruction of what is considered authentic and traditional.
Since every culture has always depended on its intrinsic development of certain cross fertilization through contact with other cultures, this fertilization creates the essence of Latin American modern architecture, which in response to Europe’s cultural domination, became a way of resistance and encouraged the whole region to take the initiative.
Latin American architecture 60 years ago became famous due to its rooting and identity, despite being faithful expression of modernity, the rules of which were against all legacy of the past and autochthonous values. Unfortunately, its sudden success vanished as a result of the political, social and economic circumstances of an unstable period for the region.
However, the sense of postmodernity today leads the region to a more pluralist view which values these lost local connotations aiming at the same time to recover its essence by reinterpreting it. The internationalization of Brazilian architect Roberto Burle Marx’s works is a proof, which has been mimicked in other countries. Likewise, the influence of Mexican architect Luis Barragan is evident on foreign architects such as Japanese Tadao Ando. This is how the new concept of Critic Regionalism appears by calling today’s architects to take the same approach before used in this region : to obtain a better relationship with topography, climate and culture, to develop a sense of a place through being aware, to respect local conditions, and to appropriate modern technology and its practices. This is the reach of Latin American modern architecture: it has the bases for a true regionalism or an intelligent Latin Americanism, creative and without racism which took the best the world imposed up until then, but then proceeded to assimilate and reinterpret it to produce a style in its own right in order to recreate a local identity rooted in tradition.