Architecture in times of crisis

11 September, 2013

Architecture in times of crisis

Ιn the dialogue that we have started on the architecture in times of crisis, Fredric Benesch of the ''Praise of Shadows architecture'' answers seven questions posed by Greek architects of the international architectural community.

Greek version

In the dialogue that we have started on architecture in times of crisis, Fredric Benesch from In praise of shadows architecture  answer seven questions posed by Greek architects to the international architectural community.

Question posed by the editorial team of
The 13th Biennale, with the subject "common ground" as its main theme this time, was wished by the organizers to profess the redefinition of architectural design towards a new philosophy, sustainable and in relation to the global crisis. An event, that this time, did not pursue, as usual, the avant-guard but a whole new theoretical approach. Do you consider that the participants and the content of the 13th biennale have offered a substantial answer in this matter?

Answer Fredric Benesc
In my view the exhibition did indeed encircle some kind of common ground for architecture, many exhibiting architects shared their role models and or the social/political contex of their or others work. Kind of an architects talking about architecst show, which was interesting to me as an architect. It was however probably rather an answer to the theme than a definition of a new philosophy.


Question posed by Anastasios M. Kotsiopoulos, Professor of Architecture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Corresponding member of the Academy of AthensAre there any real signs of change in the morphological repertory of contemporary architecture, due to some kind of crisis? If so, what crisis is this: an internal affair of the architectural avant-garde or a socioeconomic phenomenon, possibly localized, with an impact on architecture?

Answer Fredric Benesc
A clear "trend" at the Venice Biennale 2012 was the many references to classicism and this is possibly a reaction to the many  iconic buildings of the last years as well as the debated status of the star architects.


Question posed by Tsabikos Petras, architect
What would you consider to be potential fields for creativity for young architects in urban landscapes which are overbuilt and with a high saturation of unused structures due to the financial crisis?

Answer Fredric Benesc
At a visit to Limerick in Ireland, hit hard by the crisis, teachers (architects) and students at the School of Architecture showed a great interest and enthusiasm in the urban development of Limerick. They where sure that Limerick was better of without some of the large-scale developments stopped by the crisis. In a situation where money is gone, there is suddenly time for reflection and the School have engaged in dialogue with the city in the discussion about its qualities, potential and further development. And their voice is being heard.


Question posed by Tasis Papaionnou, architect
Today the world is changing and is being transformed with lightning speed. All aspects of life are in crisis, whereas  the future seems more uncertain and insecure than ever. Time and space appear to shrink dramatically and do not seem enough. Within this fluid scenery, do you think that the essence of architecture is changing, in particular the dense core of its Design Treaty? In other words, can architecture go against the torrential flow of the frenzied commercialism and the unbridled market competition, in order to express its timeless mission and its anthropocentric character?

Answer Fredric Benesc
We think so! Rather than changing what architecture can be to meet the societal change we look even harder for the actual physical impact of architecture and its potential to creat an experience of precense. We think that this experience, the quality of presence, of the connection to a place, a situation, to other human being and through that to the globe is crucial for our survival as mankind. Materiality, Structure, Space, Light and Shadows are out tools.

You can join the debate by sending your answers to, entitled "Architecture in times of crisis" along with a photo of yours.
The editorial team of GreekArchitects will then evaluate your answers and proceed to their publication.


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