Housing for the 21st Century
by Carlo Aiello
It is with great pleasure that we introduce you to the premier issue of eVolo. This architecture and design journal was initially conceived in 2004 by a group of graduate students at Columbia University in New York City. Following graduate school, inspired and idealistic, many of us felt the need to reach further and look more closely at ourselves and our specific strengths to figure out what we could uniquely contribute to the field of architecture. Unfortunately entering the work force revealed a scary truth; the world of architecture is a tough place, making little room to accommodate all the unique contributions that so many brilliant young architects were so eager to make. This, specifically, is the inspiration for eVolo; to provide a forum for showcasing the most innovative, the most avant-garde designs that will define architecture in the twenty-first century.
So I introduce to you, eVolo, a work in progress with a clear mission, but no other rules. We have in mind a desire to examine the relationship between architecture and the natural world, architecture and the community, architecture and urban living; but this is an open investigation, welcoming all questions with a willingness to entertain any and all possible answers.
As a part of our mission, in 2006 we created the annual Skyscraper Competition, whereby architects, students, and designers shared their ideas about the future of the skyscraper. The outcome was extraordinary, and in 2008 we published a book with the most innovative projects of the last three years. In September of 2009, there will be an exhibition in New York City to display the brilliance that was uncovered by this competition, brilliance and creativity beyond what we had imagined. Such investment in the work, such innovation, such freedom of thought and expression – we feel confident that there is endless creativity just waiting chance to shine.
So we hope you enjoy the first issue – Housing for the twenty-first century is what we have chosen, and have made it a collaboration between thinkers from diverse fields attempting to understand our current habitation necessities; an exploration of where we are and where are we heading. We start off with the analysis of the economic, social, and architectural causes and consequences of the largest and fastest migration event of human history; the exodus from rural to urban China.
‘Opinion’ is a collection of essays on the broad topic of housing, reaching broadly, from discussions about the use of new technologies, ecology, and global warming, to the transformation of a house into another ‘member’ of a family. This section also includes a reflection on the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright and his architectural sensibility to make house and context one single entity. In this section you will also find critiques on some of the most forward-looking housing projects designed by world-class firms such as Steven Holl Architects, Asymptote Architecture, Herzog & de Meuron, Bjarke Ingels Group, and Office for Metropolitan Architecture.
Central to this issue are the winning projects of the 2007 Housing Competition organized by eVolo, which consists of twenty proposals that, through the use of new materials, technology, novel spatial organizations, and combinations of programs, present a glimpse of the possible world to come. You will find examples of underground housing, the regeneration of existing neighborhoods, the exploration of new aesthetics from mathematical algorithms, and the studies of biogenetic materials used for environmentally responsive claddings.
The final section spotlights a young firm of designers known as Nervous System, who are producing an ingenious jewelry line based on patterns of organization in the natural world. Some of their pieces mimic the growth of coral and other branching structures, while other collections are created with the simulation of particle aggregation and diffusion systems.
The first issue of eVolo is the beginning of a long journey, along which we intend to search and discover, unveil and promote, in a collaborative format that welcomes anyone that wishes to take this journey with us.
eVolo- to study, to develop, to evolve, to fly away…