WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR CHINA’S ARCHITECTS
Markus Schaefer was interviewed by Brendan McGetrick for Domus China.
“Ten years into the new century, large parts of the world seem to be coalescing into two distinct but not completely dissimilar camps, neither of which appears to have much need for architects. On one side, in the developing world, years of rural-to-urban migration is producing cities without urban plans or architectural oversight, ad-hoc megalopolises that mutate according to need, independent of the infrastructure once considered essential to urban life. On the other, in world’s most modern societies, the importance of the built environment is steadily diminishing as new technologies entice more and more residents into a virtual realm that requires no physical proximity and minimal physical infrastructure. In both cases, the notion of the architect as an essential member of society, a provider of shelter and urban coherency, is growing more tenuous.
China, as is often pointed out, has a foot in each camp. It is simultaneously poor and rich, developed and developing. Here the architect is ascendent; his services are needed and, for the most part, appreciated. But for how long can this continue? How long before China’s architects face the threat of irrelevancy that now confronts their peers abroad?
For its 2010 interview series, Domus China will examine how developments in technology, ecology, and politics will alter the way cities work. Over the next twelve months we will speak with scientists and urbanists, academics, entrepreneurs, and inventors. The conversations will vary in subject but will retain a single focus: the future of architecture and urban life. Our hope is that, by imagining radical change advance, architects can prepare themselves. By focusing on current innovations and future forecasts, we can make change less surprising, develop strategies, and recognize modernity’s inevitable disruptions as a source of opportunity rather than pain.” Brendan McGetrick
Domus China, no. 049, December 2010, p. 112-129