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Towards Another Architecture

It is now a hundred years since the first essays that would later form Le Corbusier’s Vers une Architecture were published in the magazine L’Esprit Nouveau. ‘A great new epoch has begun. There exists a new spirit’, Le Corbusier observed, which, he went on to argue, demanded an architecture that did not just adopt but revelled in the possibilities of industry and mass production. ‘Modern life demands, and is waiting for, a new kind of plan, both for the house and the city.’

Today, we live at another pivotal moment for architecture and for the wider world. The climate emergency alone requires us to rethink everything we have previously taken for granted about how we conceive and construct buildings. While Le Corbusier saw industry as architecture and society’s saviour, our present predicament has no easy panaceas, and we are suspicious of anyone offering them. One of the great ironies of Le Corbusier’s messianic vision is that the very thing he so celebrated – unbridled industry – has led us to the climate emergency.

We need an architecture that is diverse, pluralist and sustains multiple conversations

Owen Hopkins, Farrell Centre Director

Yet, as Le Corbusier himself recognised, moments of crisis and transformation are also opportunities for overturning conventions, facing uncomfortable truths and forcing disciplinary and societal ‘reset’. What we need is not a new architecture, as Le Corbusier was popularly mistranslated as advocating, but another one: an architecture that is not bound to a single vision or future, but is diverse, pluralist and sustains multiple conversations about the active role that architects might play in the world.

This series of events invites practitioners and thinkers working in a range of fields and geographies to reflect on this pivotal moment and advocate their vision(s) for another architecture.