Copyright (c) 2021 Maria Teresa Lucarelli
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
The theme proposed in this issue is of great stimulus: starting from the arguments launched by the call and better specified in the topics, it was intended to start an interesting cultural and scientific comparison, never dormant, on the meaning of heteronomy of architecture.
Associated today with the complexity of design and construction, the concept of heteronomy calls for others as hybridization, contamination, recalling in various ways the inevitable and necessary relationship with different knowledge.
The contrast, still in progress, with that late modernist cultural line that considers the autonomy of architecture to be fundamentally an artistic, symbolic and pure form expression (Ginex, 2002) – Aldo van Eyck was one of the most fanatical supporters – it seems to find, starting from the end of the 70s, more coherent answers with the contemporaneity in which the architectural project begins to deal with technological innovation both in the transformations of language and in the evolution of construction techniques; an ever closer comparison between creativity and technical knowledge. Architecture, therefore, returns to being a synthesis between art and science of building, capable, of responding to an intrinsic aesthetic-formal need and, at the same time, functional to satisfy the multiple needs of the client.
It is therefore undeniable that Architecture, in the current socio-economic, environmental and health context have to assume more and more heteronomous characters in all phases of design, construction and management of the built environment. The situation of uncertainty that characterizes the historical moment urges the construction of scenarios in which the hybridization and contamination of knowledge, which nourishes heteronomy, can be a stimulus, reference and above all enrichment for a different way of thinking the “project”, free from disciplinary hierarchies. In fact, right from the “ideational” phase, the different instances and multiple knowledge that participate in the production of the project has to be identified, albeit through a delicate and complex action of cultural and scientific mediation, as said Cucinella (Norsa, 2021) creative empathy between the building, the places and the people since «[…] the project has to be the result of collective (multidisciplinary) intelligence and the result […] intended as a “hybrid” between technology and the surrounding environment».
Therefore, it is essential to establish a constructive dialogue between the multiple disciplines and related skills to respond to complex problems and new challenges with which the architectural project has to deal by working on the frontier of specific knowledge in a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary dialogic relationship.
In this comparison, there is no doubt that Technological Design – which has a recognized strategic vision and governance capacity in all phases of the design process – can adequately respond «to the changing and rapid demands of contemporary society» both for an intrinsic ability – also referable to the declaration itself – to relate to a broad context of themes and problems; both for an evident aptitude for comparison and interconnection and hybridization with other knowledge.
If, therefore, architecture has always found, in its relationship with the humanistic disciplines – philosophy, sociology, anthropology, in particular – fertile ground to be able to define itself as heteronomous. That, today, taking them since ancient times, as its integral part in the inevitable as necessary confluence between ancient and new knowledge, has to know to relate – and so hybridize – with new and renewed knowledge. Digitization, for example, using enabling technologies, big data, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, platforms digital interoperability, including those of computer interoperability, if taken as an integral part of the project-process, allows more and more to effectively simulate the ideational, design and implementation activity, avoiding errors and interference, improving the quality level. However, it is essential to always refer to that semantic capital of which he speaks in his writings Luciano Floridi (2020) precisely because «[…] a wealth of knowledge that allows us to interface with the new tools that we use every day and that continually require technical adaptation but […] also semantic» (Faroldi et al., 2020). Therefore, the architectural project, as a container of different requests and skills, becomes heteronomous as a “place” of interrelationships between creativity and critical thinking, of technical skills and innovation (not only technological), necessary to face with greater strength and awareness the complexity of today and addressing the needs of tomorrow.
These premises give relevance to the four topics proposed by the call: the first, “Approaches aimed at achieving an integrated/heteronomous project”, suggests a reasoning on how to find an effective “collaboration” between the various actions relating to the building process and the different skills involved, able to overcome divergences and conflicts allowing the desired integration between creativity and technique.
The second, “Research aimed at identifying tools to promote relations between the various professionals of the building process”, proposes a reflection on methodologies and tools capable of favouring the satisfaction of requests of a formal and, at the same time, functional and technological a horizontal and vertical integration between the subjects involved, their skills and specific specialisms, in a multidisciplinary vision of the design process.
The third, “Identification of the architect’s skills, in order to establish new synergies between the different knowledges”, invites a reasoning on the strategic function of the architect. In all phases of the design process and an ability to foster connections with other stakeholders in the realization of the product; in short, the ability to find the appropriate synergies in the management of complexity.
The fourth, “Promotion of the architectural project as an interdisciplinary synthesis tool”, intends to shift the reflection on the degree of quality that the project can derive from the contamination/hybridization with other knowledge – also in typological, morphological and technological terms – avoiding a sterile self-referentiality, inconsistent with the rapid changes of today’s society.
Four themes that led to the submission of eighty abstracts – of which twenty-eight selected with double blind review – including a substantial number of theoretical and methodological essays, different research experiences including design, all representative of the contemporary debate on the subject to testify unequivocally the heteronomy of architecture.