Think Global, Build Social! - Architectures for A Better World

Architecture is a form of applied art that influences society through the structures it leaves behind. Yet, quite recently, this practice is known to impact society only slightly in ways that help the Earth, addressing Issues of social relevance. The exhibition Think Global, Build Social! – Architectures for a Better World explores the theme of social responsibility in contemporary architecture.


The Department of Architecture hosts Matthias Kestel, architect and lecturer at the Technical University Munich, Germany to expound on the growing concern involving architecture and the lack of a well-designed environment in particular areas. There has been a massive rise in the number of building projects carried out in rapidly expanding megacities across Asia, Latin America and Africa with no architectural supervision whatsoever. In addition, an increasing number of people all over the world are living in slum conditions. The crucial question is, therefore: what solutions can architecture offer to those segments of the global population that currently have no access to a well-designed environment?
‘Think Global, Build Social!’ showcases 12–15 current examples of an alternative approach to architecture – socially responsible practices that require greater personal initiative and creativity to develop low-cost architectural solutions that will improve living conditions for people in less privileged parts of the world. Many of the projects selected by curator Andres Lepik – which include schools, public spaces and residential buildings – have been developed through close collaboration with the future users and also incorporate local building traditions and techniques. Projects like these address the specific needs of those for whom (and with whom) they are being implemented, and thereby enable a two-way knowledge transfer.


On the one hand, there’s the matter of ‘starchitecture’. But what is ‘starchitecture’? It is the collective description of a renowned artist and an ‘architecture’ meant to be understood as an architecture designed by a famous or well-known person. Unlike the general architectural procedure, starchitecture requires the artist to work in extreme measures, each element emphasized and exaggerated. Architect Zaha Hadid, for example built the Heydar Aliyev Centre Baku, Azerbaijan, and the MAXXI museum of contemporary art and architecture in Rome and was the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004;

Frank Gehry, yet another ‘starchitect’ who was known for his bold shapes in his constructions such as the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. But how does ‘starchitecture’ relate to the ‘Think Global, Build Social’ movement? A number of common features can be seen in the various projects and approaches presented by Andrew Lepik, indicating that beyond the realm of “starchitecture”, a very different kind of movement has been emerging within contemporary architecture for quite some time – one that aims to tackle social issues within a global society.


This movement addresses the ongoing concerns for the lack of properly-designed environments and initiates the efforts to cover such ground. The recurring demand to shape the future reviews a lot of these eco-centric concerns with Think Global, Build Social. Through achieving the stated goal of exploring the theme of social responsibility in contemporary architecture, the exhibition focuses on issues of urbanism, design, architecture and public space, as seen through independent initiatives.


Along with Goethe-Institut, the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture co-hosts this exhibition and workshop. University of Moratuwa (UOM), consists of five faculties namely Architecture, Business, Engineering, Graduate Studies and Information Technology and strives to produce world-class graduates in technological fields. The overall goal of the UOM is to produce academically confident, internationally recognized quality graduates. The university has set several goals in order to be an active player in the economic development of our country while contributing to making Sri Lanka a knowledge hub by strategic planning and implementing many initiatives.
The exhibition will take place at the University of Moratuwa, Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture (building "Wing 2017"). The exhibition hours will be from 9:00AM to 5:00PM, Tuesday to Saturday, and closed on Mondays and Sundays.

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31st May, 2019 Art Events