Category Archives: Sebastian Alvarado Grugiel

Can’t eat money.


Q. It is very tempting to seduce ourselves, as architects or as anybody keen on architecture or otherwise involved in the design process that the answer to our problems lies with buildings. Do you actually believe you can separate buildings out from the infrastructure of cities and mobility of transit and the expectations and incentives of people?
A building separated from its immediate environment (“the infrastructure of cities and mobility of transit and the expectations and incentives of people”), would be a space craft, a piece of art in a museum, or just waste. A building is the form that human activities take in response to peoples needs. This shapes cities. Buildings depends on the mobility around them since we need to get into them somehow; or some kind of accessibility – physical or virtual.

Design is a infinite process. Architecture is a still shot of that process, turned into something that could be somehow built – a building. Buildings are dead bodies until people use them. It is the forces interacting inside architecture and inside the user´s mind, what gives it some real meaning.

Q. Why do people tend to believe that what is financially profitable (for developers) is not actually equivalent to economically feasible (positive impacts on social welfare)? How would you show that this does not necessarily have to be like this (but rather the opposite)?
In the globalized world and with the economic models that globalization works with, anything can become a selling product: cars, architecture, people… Sometimes it looks like the focus is only in money and numbers, and not in the actual resources available and their real value. Through “economic” crisis, we are all paying for this twisted conception of value. Some are getting rich, but what kind of quality of life you get when everyone around you have a lot less than you. Insecurity comes from inequity.
Under this model, cities are built not because they are needed, but because they are “economically” viable. Money and wealth have become just numbers in a computer screen, far away from the reality of finite things.
We can´t plant money nor eat it.

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