Home | FAQ | Contact | Newsletter

Ephemerality and Architecture

The historical concept of architecture as described by Vitruvius in 'De architectura' identifies ‘durability’ as one of the three principles for good buildings. The term itself derives etymologically from the Ancient Greek word architékton. Here, the ambiguous word techné can be described as art, technology or tectonics, the science of structure, which implies ideas of weight, stability and durability.

Conversely, when we look at certain trends in architecture - for instance at the last Architectural Biennale in Venice curated by Kazuyo Sejima, it is striking that many of the exhibited projects - Junya Ishigami's "Architecture as Air", Raumlaborberlin's "Kitchen Monument, The Generator", "Cloudscapes" from Transsolar, or Olafur Eliasson's "Your split second house" to name a few, are dealing with the absence of physical matter; with qualities of airiness and ephemerality.

In 'Les objets singuliers. Architecture et philosophie', Jean Nouvel explains in dialogue with Jean Baudrillard how the search for limits in architecture has shifted the discussion of the aesthetics of architecture from the solid and substantial to the permeable and de-materialised.

More recently, the architectural profession finds itself in a condition of a deep recession and, according to market forces, architects are able to build less. As a result, the practise has shifted towards projects of more temporary, transient or non-conventional building forms. This has proved to be a new, experimental playground for architects – an opportunity to re-invent their profession.

Have market forces encouraged this shift towards ephemerality or is it a natural tendency of architecture? Does ephemerality in architecture depend on new technologies or are we creating illusions through non-physical experiences in order to imitate the digital? What social conditions, if any, are being represented by an ephemeral architecture? Lastly, what might the consequences of this phenomenon for our society and culture be?

The second issue of MOINOPOLIS wants to approach the question of ephemerality in architecture in a multi-disciplinary way. We are interested in hearing your positions, arguments and critiques that deal with these questions.

Submissions should engage critically with topic and may take the form of speculative papers, experimental projects, insights, images, interviews and manifestos.

Text: Radostina Radulova 15.09.2012