Legislating Architecture, English Version
Please find the german version and the index of contents here
Release: May 2016
The special English-language issue “Legislating Architecture” explores how architecture is shaped by societal regulatory systems and law. This issue takes the film of the same name directed by Arno Brandlhuber and Christopher Roth, their submission to the 15th Architecture Biennale in Venice, as its point of departure.
Roth and Brandlhuber’s documentary shows excerpts from conversations they conducted with a broad range of architects on the subject of legislating architecture, published here in their entirely. In collaboration with Brandlhuber and Tobias Hönig, ARCH+ has proceeded to delve much deeper into this topic. The German version of this publication has the subtitle “Gesetze gestalten!” which can be read as both a declaration that laws design, and an exhortation to design laws. This phrase suggests that architecture isn’t only determined by regulations, but that it too has the power to create regulations itself.
After an introduction to the topic, we work through a series of case studies––largely based on the work of Alex Lehnerer––that explore how law shapes the built environment and the practice of architecture. Why do cities look the way they do? How is this informed by law? And how can architects and planners start appropriating regulations like zoning and building codes, treating them as pro-active instruments and design tools, rather than obstacles? How can we understand the confrontation with regulation as a creative endeavor––“not as remainder, as if creativity occurs despite regulation, but instead as operator, as if creativity occurs within regulation,” as Nick Beech writes in the lead-out of this issue?
In the final part, we investigate the phenomenon from the opposite point of view, and ask to what degree design can produce laws. This line of argument is an exhortation to understand the designing of rules as an integral component of architectural practice. Can architects influence the conditions that govern their own practice? Can we envision an empowered architecture that challenges the status quo by being a catalyst for renegotiation?