As the Dutch contribution to the X Bienal de São Paulo in 2013, Crimson Architectural Historians and The New Institute have called a meeting that will take place from November 4th until 7th in a specially built room in the Centro Cultural São Paulo (CCSP), Rua Vergueiro, 1000 – Paraíso in São Paulo.
For this meeting we have called together a generation of architects and urbanists that is connected through a common reaction to the political and economic crises that urban communities all over the world are facing. Whether we are working in the Favelas of South America, the Townships of South Africa or in the crumbling housing estates of Europe, our generation has replaced the large-scale top down masterplan and the iconic hypermodern building with the participative, bottom-up, temporary and flexible approach.
What does this global convergence of design attitudes mean? Are we really seeing an international shift that explains the shared values of our generation? Or is the consensus about participation and bottom-up just a fashion?
And secondly: Is the acupuncture approach working? Or is it just creating short-lived dreams of a better world that are quickly appropriated by the very forces of commercialism and top-down power which they are supposed to replace?
In three days of open discussions we will try and find common ground, but not without defining sharply and clearly our differences. Projects and experiences from all over the world will be shared, and a central role will be given to the urban and political transformations our host city Sao Paulo is going through. Perhaps the most important ambition is to take architecture and urbanism out of the ghettoes of academia and the black boxes of politics and business, and to put it back into the centre of public debate.