Rem Koolhaas stated that we cannot avoid participating in fashion retail spatial design since today it represents one of the most productive economic sources in the global market. Thus architecture is mutating towards other kind of expressions dealing with the ephemeral conventions of fashion and economic fluctuations.
At what extent architecture should be engaged with issues of testing itself from these outside parameters, which are mostly out of architect's control? How can architects deal with architecture as fashion and challenge at the same time the rapid fashion's unfashionability?
How does this global issue of fashioning architecture outside its conventional concerns of durability and symbolic presence apply in actual non-Western socio-economic-cultural contexts?
Fashion & space
This is a good question but the right question is should buildings have meaning? I think they should and if they don't, what are they? Majority of the time meaningless. Architects and artist reflect the intellectual,economic and social aspects of life. So in the west you find that the ideology of capatilism takes front and center of life. Capatilism has no respect for human meaning in life, it's main objective is to benefit the rich with all their needs and desires. Its obsessive pursuit of power and its insatialble appetite for greed, at the expense of the masses. It is a sad testimony of the west that things change so rapidly, each change having less and less meaning. So if economics dictate that "fashion retail spatial design" is the trend, so obviously the archtitect, who needs to make money will gravitate towards this "need", that is just the market place.
As for challenging "rapid fashion's unfashionability", you should be on top of things, leaders in this realm. It is only when you are leaders that you can change the status quo of things, being a visionary of sorts. But if you want buildings to have durability and symbolic presence, it is a battle few will fight.
As for Non-western societies, I can only speak for the Islamic world. The Islamic world is going thru a "renaisance" of sorts, the advent of modernity has caused a serious crisis for the Muslims, God still having a strong meaning in life. Should we embrace secularism and forget God, or Remember God and ignore secularism. Both won't work a balance of two is needed and that won't be till some time. Maybe the Muslim world will provide an answer to the building "in fashion" soon to become unfashionable. You'll just have to wait and see.
I've read Juhani Pallasmaa " Lived Space in Architecture and Cinema" very intesting. The question begins again; Does life resemble art or does art resemble life? Anyways...
Your comments are appreciated and remember that the right questions need to be asked first, before any answers can be provided. Happy questioning!