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The Virtual Public Square

By F3 Arquitectura

In our previous article we talked about the work being done to “viralise” architecture, and how other disciplines have had no hesitation in jumping on this bandwagon of technological revolution. This time, we want to go one step further in this consideration of the links between Internet and architecture by focussing on the creation of alternative architecture – i.e., new spaces for interrelating – not  with bricks and mortar but in the shape of ever-expanding data networks.

We are the screen generation. Wherever we look, there’s always a screen, either our own or somebody else’s, exchanging information with its user. It’s amazing to see how, almost overnight, we’ve started communicating and living together in a totally different way.

Communicating and LIVING together. Because if this revolution has brought anything at all, it’s brought a new way of life, a new way of being, a new way of connecting with others. And it’s in this connecting role that architecture has “lost” its space, because to relate to others we need a time and a space.

The space for connecting has been conquered by the social networks, and is now a new virtual public square: a new place to hang out, to tell people about our holidays without having to write to them, to see what we’re working on and even to meet the friends of our friends.

But of course, interrelating with people also needs a time: a time that begins when a baby learns to unblock a mobile phone before it learns to talk  and continues as we grow until we’re spending 4 or 5 hours at a time in this virtual public square we’ve all helped to create.

Then we keep growing and start wondering how so many people arrive at certain content. Because like all public places, this virtual public square has to be arrived at somehow. The streets leading to it will certainly have ground floor businesses, apartments, office blocks and – hey, look at that – a shop window!

We’ve turned into digital marketers, and why not? We do a job that requires long hours and a very long period of training, so let’s show it off, and in particular let’s display it properly to all the denizens of this digital environment!

Is this image familiar? It isn’t all that different from what we’re talking about here.

It makes no difference what content we put out there. It could be built elements, renders, collages, research documents, blogs about architecture, blogs not about architecture, architects, non-architects…whatever. It all takes us little by little, step by step, towards the viralisation of architecture we were talking about. By working, and by doing our job well. Because exhibiting a job well done is a marvellous way of connecting, interacting and entering that virtual public square where everyone now meets, plays and hangs out. We also need to learn how to exhibit and know who we’re showing our stuff to, but that sounds like sales and marketing, right?

A whole new can of worms!

So, what do you think of the virtual public square? Has it brought us positives or negatives? Should we pluck up the courage to exhibit our work, or should we keep it to ourselves? Do we stay in the square or go out into the street?

By F3 Arquitectura

Text translated by Andrew V. Taylor
La Fundación Caja de Arquitectos se constituye como Fundación cultural privada el 23 de Mayo de 1990, con el objetivo de promover y fomentar fines de carácter cultural, social, asistencial, profesional y formativo en el campo de la arquitectura, la construcción, el diseño, el urbanismo y, en general, de todo aquello relacionado con la actividad de los arquitectos.

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