Where is Care...
By Samarth Vachhrajani
Bell Hooks famously writes in her book, All about love, that we don't care as much as we critique. This rings true for most architectural academic practices that are deeply rooted in critique-oriented pedagogies. These are riven with many kinds of subjectivities, especially in the fields of design where there is never a right answer. It begs the question, where is care in architectural practices? Care as a pedagogical tool, allows for a different method of approaching learning, and understanding architecture, that is rooted in cultivating the inquisitiveness we all hold. Care provides a method to extend our understanding beyond, and utilise it as an ethical framework of practice in the industry.
Care is not experienced or practiced within the industry, as academic practices have heavily relied on criticising over time, leaving that as the only “productive” option for learning, designing, and making architecture. A practice that is so collective, requiring collaboration across disciplines, care can be an instrumental method of self-positioning and situating ourselves in current times. Datum Issue 12 was titled CARE, mainly focused on exploring how care can be a form of practice in the architecture academy and industry. Since then, we have focused on calling ourselves, not just Datum, but DATUM COLLECTIVE. This was to recognise the collective nature of our work, and also that care is a collective and communal practice (not just domestic / singular).
Where is Collective
By Mae Murphy
Where do collectives dwell in architecture?
Where can we find mutual support in such a competitive field?
Where can minorities find solidarity without ostracisation and displacement?
Where are the unions?
The term collective can be defined as ‘belonging or relating to all members of a group’. Recently the Datum group adopted the term to our identity. The presence of this word has started conversations questioning the role of solidarity and collectives in the architecture and design industry in and out of academic settings. In school we have the unique opportunity to surround ourselves with resources and people in the same shoes as us: hundreds of architecture students house in one building, a support system for people learning about architecture and the conditions we are trained to withstand. When we seek employment opportunities often only one or two new hires join a firm. We are spread thin, therefore, weakening the collective unit. Datum, Bnieuws, and other student-led organizations are outlets to connect students with professionals and to collectively question the role of the architect. Perhaps this cross-continent connection is the beginning of a new collective between radical students.
The collective power of uniting together proves to be a route for change. The newly formed Architectural Workers United (AWU) group and New York SHoP Architects’ attempt at unionisation are examples of collectives joining together to change traditional working conditions. Unfortunately, SHoP architects were unable to form a union within the 130 person office. While we do not know the exact reason the union failed, we can acknowledge the spark it ignited within the industry and the power created when joining together. We cannot let this movement die. Collective is where we can make the change.
Where is Beauty
By Arden Stapella
The architect informs space, rendering our consciousness of the noetic in the medium of the phenomenal. The observer perceives its likeness. This is where beauty is manifest, in the awareness that this communion facilitates.
Architecture is an expression of the structure and pattern that is craved by the perceiver. They experience the world around them, persuaded by the elements selected, apprehending the forms provided by the architect.We are given a formal context in which to be intelligible. The beauty is beheld when it enters into awareness. Without this reciprocity- being and thought - beauty cannot exist.
In architecture, the assemblage of building elements transcends its physical constituency through perception. Walls and columns become objects of evocation, erected by memory, formed by emotion. The observer becomes the architect, and this version of the building becomes reality.