I was fourteen when the Towers came down, and the long twin shadows of Iraq and Afghanistan essentially defined my development of global awareness. It is an event I refer to frequently when attempting to describe the nature of the new millennial zeitgeist, and while it is a subject that has gone out of vogue in recent years (perhaps as a result of the spectacular conspiracy theories that surround that tragedy, with varying degrees of plausability) it remains unequivocally the real marker of the new millennium. If epochs are less defined by periods of time than by events, then the bookend to the era that began with September 11 would be the sub-prime lending collapse, and the subsequent Global Financial Crisis of 2008.
The crash really signifies the end of the decade, and what we are experiencing now is the slack water between tides – the dead calm of reflection. Particularly within architecture there is a feeling of bitterness, a recognition that the good times are over, and they were largely squandered. There is a desire to seperate, in all senses, from the past. The scorned lover destroying correspondance, the defeated army burning bridges in its wake. There is a searching for a new architecture. But it is somehow more profound than this; it is not simply a search to redefine themselves, but above all to define a new zeitgeist. That is, the will is essentially positive.
I am not interested in the ungainly shapes and non-existent scales of the Digital Formalists – I feel the greatest failing of Modernism is that we do because we can, and not because we should (even this question is enough to brand one a Luddite, or at least retrospective). I am not interested in architecture as an activity of object-making. I am completely fascinated by architecture as a legitimate tool of social change.