London: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. — 144 p. — ISSN 0003-8504.The New Mix: Culturally Dynamic Architecture Published: 01.09.2005 Page Count: 128 Editor: Sara Caples, Everardo Jefferson We are at a new moment in architecture, one when many cultures are contributing to the unfolding of modernism. This enriching influence is broadening the mix, extending the range available to architecture, of materials and colours, of evocative forms, of cultural references and of social thinking.In an era of boredom with monocultures and orthodoxies, there is the almost universal expectation that the metroculture, be it in London or Beijing, will provide broadened cultural experiences in food, performance, dress and sound. The new ethnically diverse city is a place of zesty daily encounters/collisions/cohabitation between cultures, a place of mixed signals, contradictions, delightful confusions. Franco-Japanese cuisine, elite schoolchildren wearing doo-rags, jazz performed on gamelans—no matter what one’s mother culture - we’re all getting addicted to varied rhythms, different emotional emphases, ‘other’ ideas of beauty.This change is visible in schools of architecture, at least in the range of students, typically from many ethnicities, none of them constituting a majority. No wonder, then, that there is increased interest in ways that architecture can incorporate a larger compass of riches.A rising group of practitioners is meeting the challenge of this broadening cultural landscape in pursuing strategies of quick switching, layering, reframing. These new architectural expressions of multiple cultures represent an enrichment that ultimately might help create a more robust modernism, helping to rescue it from a ‘potato blight’ of too much sameness.Fast-changing social contexts are dominated by the blurring of boundaries between work and play, information retrieval and use. Pliable and responsive digital environments raise the haptic and intuitive threshold of public and private space by harnessing physical and mental responses. Will interactive architecture embrace a wider scope of functions and experiences – from sensing mechanisms, to the info-lounge, to the ambient home environment and the holistic hospital – through customisable design possibilities?
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