January 9, 2019

How can architects change the world for the better?

The Stream takes a look at the intersection between building design and social change.

The role of the architect is more far-reaching than it may initially appear. Not only are they responsible for the design and structure of the built environment, but they also have an outsized impact on communities, the environment and, even, on culture. Architects literally shape our world.

Until the early 2000s, the most famous architects - building to impress - were dubbed "starchitects". Their breathtaking works dotted urban skylines, often communicating wealth and power but doing little to serve the needs of the marginalised and poor. So how can architecture be democratised?

Kunle Adeyemi, an architect, designer and urban researcher says: "Architecture is about value and identity ... it should have the capacity to transcend social classes. I think the goal of architecture should be to allow everyday people as well as well-off classes of society to have access to beauty and a built environment that they can identify with, that gives them value. It’s not about the wealth of material in a physical sense but about how the resources are brought together in ways that are meaningful before being beautiful.”

On Wednesday, we’ll discuss the impact architects from around the world can have on social change. We’ll take a closer look at their work, the reasoning behind their designs and the ways in which they have transformed the communities they work in.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Kunlé Adeyemi @NLEWORKS
Architect, designer & urban researcher

Mariam Kamara @mariamkmr
Architect, founder & principal, Atelier Masōmī

Yasmeen Lari @ylari
Architect, co-Founder & CEO, Heritage Foundation of Pakistan

What do you think? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts in the comments below.