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Conflict and Natural Disasters
 
Architecture against terrorism
Hello architects,

How could we defeate terrorism by architecture?
I'm wondering till when we should be victims?
I think it's our responsibilty now to think in solutions to decrease the number of killed people in bombs.
Ibrahim Karsou
Responses
 
Architecture against terrorism
Ibrahim,

To counter terrorism, we have more & first to contribute as human beings and members of communities rather than as professionals. While we can design bomb-resistant structures in violence prone zones, design inclusive communal spaces in fragmented cities etc we should not get carried away with our profession's role / significance in resolving all issues faced by humanity.

Geometric shapes, symmetry & plumb lines have always reassuared us of control in a chaotic & complex world. But we must not assume our abstractions have the power to order all human activity (leave alone natural processes). We can contribute but have no heaven ordained mandate to set everything 'right'
Danny Cherian
Architecture against terrorism
I do not believe the question is leaving alone natural processes or not. It is about decreasing the numbers killed. It is a very intellegent response to the situation. Japan is not destroyed everytime there is an earthquake. The international community continues to study the ocean for the prevention massive destruction from a tsunami. We should definitely do what we can to lessen the impact disasters have on the world.
Margaret Mendus
Architecture against terrorism
You are right margret, I don't know how could nature save us from terrorism?

Do you mean we have to leave the civil life and escape to the forests and run to the top of mountains? Of course, no. Sometimes nature kills us, like you said Margaret; we can't blame nature but we can blame humans.

It's our job now as architects to stand in the terror face and defeate it... It's our war now to dicrease no. of killed people. I believe that we have to make an architecture community to give attention that we have to solve our problem by our design. I mean: in these days the owner and the architects want to design a building in the least satisaction and they try to find any hole in the law, to save more many without consider the human soul. What could we do to stop that?
Ibrahim Karsou
Architecture against terrorism
hi , im student of architecture ,itis very intresting topic , save uswith very inteligent manner & im very intrested in this topic ---wat material may used in this technology
Shahnawaz Gulab Husain
Architecture against terrorism
As I stated before: architectural space reflects inner space. If we 'weaponize' architecture as a tool against 'terrorism' are we not in fact creating a reactive space to that which we seek to proactively deny? Architecture establishes profound realities not easily altered once in place.
Anthony Stewart
Architecture against terrorism
i feel that contribution architecture against terrorism is so limited as the materials or the structural system or the technology required to counter the terrorist attacks are far from the reach of common people and the private or public sectors which need protection are already in their way
Krishna Bhimavarapu
Architecture against terrorism
do not build compound walls
Zoheb Kherada
Architecture against terrorism
i think someone had said this somewhere: "good fences make good neighbours". perhaps we need to re-evaluate our concept of fences as structures for peace and communication.
Jofer Magsi
Architecture against terrorism
Jofer, salaam -

The quotation "good fences make good neighbors" has very Western ring to it, and it is true. Originally, it referred to the corralling up of herd animals in the Western United States - that 'range wars' were the result of arguments over boundaries, that it was better to have established them well before problems arose.

In todays world, fences - such as the one under construction between Palestine and Israel convey very different meanings.

I like your "concept of fences as structures for peace" because it reflects a mature understanding of the value of communication, the need for communication to take place where ever there are frontiers, or borders, and that these "meeting places" between people, between nations may yet be designed with the higher goals of humanity in mind.

I am of the global generation which suggested "no borders" was appropriate: My generation failed, in that we did not realize that this would obviously be misconstrued as just another mode of Western imperialism.

By focusing on the means and modes of intercultural communication (including architecture as macro-communication), those of peaceful cooperation over armed conflict; by addressing the special needs for overcoming intercultural barriers, linguistic bars to communication we can indeed create common spaces out of what we now view as "national boundaries," regional borders or what have you. I would dedicate my very life to help create such positive environments.

Good post. Lots to think about!

ma salemah!
Anthony Stewart
Architecture against terrorism
what if it were possible to line our borders with:

... schools?
... playgrounds?
... shops for light-manufacturing?
... trade and exhibition centers?
... recreation facilities?
... offices and commercial centers?
... government clearing houses?
... parks?
... nature reserve?

would you suppose this would make a border more effective? or would this only encourage people to go across it? or is this another utopian wishful thinking?
Jofer Magsi
Architecture against terrorism
just to clarify on my query above, i was thinking more on the US-Mexico border. what if there were zones along that border that could take the influx of people trying to cross it, granting economic opportunities that are beneficial to both sides? and what if these zones are given autonomy to regulate their affairs, allowing the good features of each side to thrive?
Jofer Magsi
Architecture against terrorism
Ziad,

do you suppose that people more-or-less get the space they deserve by the choices they make on their own, and not because of any external intervention? and that the architecture they build to defend their space are the very same that terrorize them, serving as ledges onto which vultures perch and wait for their demise?
Jofer Magsi
Architecture against terrorism
The problem of architecture vs. top-down bottom-up 'terrorism' is about space contained by built form not about architecture per se. To be precise, it is about people-space. The solution requires a two-fold approach: top-down and bottom-up.

Top-down: countries hold international power (economic, politic, military, etc.) should let countries hold less or no international power live in their own 'space' the way they choose, i.e. democratically. A democratic 'space' is the one that a society defines collectively and 'in its own terms' without exterior intervention.
Bottom-up: countries hold less or no international power should strive to have their 'space' independent of any exterior intervention.

Top-down: governments should let their people live in their own created democratic 'space' where governments have facilitators not dictators role in a decentralised power relation.
Bottom-up: people should formulate their own 'space' collectively with minimum 'boundaries' while encouraging 'inclusion' of the 'other'.

Top-down: all authoritarian interventions in 'space' formation should stop. Examples of undesired authority: egocentric architects, vicious self-interested stingy clients and developers, and policy officials who cannot see beyond the system.
Bottom-up: all people who want to live a decent life and breath 'free' air in a 'space' of their own making without top-down interventions should realise the above. Example of such people: you and me.
Ziad Aazam
Architecture against terrorism
Ziad,

how would you define 'collapse'?
can this be part of the design?
Jofer Magsi
Architecture against terrorism
Jofer,

Yes, I do.
Do you suppose that civilizations do not start to collapse at the moment of their highest glory, and not because of any external intervention?
Yet, the 'space' I am referring to is the one that belongs to common people and not to people with special self-interests. The architecture that collapses civilizations is the one that serves as 'the highest' ledges possible for perching vultures. Many examples are very near you. But I do not wish to offend anybody.

See for yourself: http://www.designboom.com/contemporary/dubai1.html
Ziad Aazam
Architecture against terrorism
Jofer,

I would define 'collapse' by the 'WOW' factor.

More later!
Ziad Aazam
Architecture against terrorism
Salam Ibrahim, Ziad, Jofer, everyone -

"The problem of architecture vs. top-down bottom-up 'terrorism' is about space contained by built form not about architecture per se. To be precise, it is about people-space. The solution requires a two-fold approach: top-down and bottom-up."

Broadly, I have to agree with Ziad on a number of points. The issue is in fact how "people-space" is designed. However, I don't agree that "top-down and bottom-up" perspectives will answer the problems. The definition given basically describes the dichotomy between colonial and post-colonial environments, I do not have a problem with the importance of that recognition. I agree with the premises provided regarding "democratic" space, but note the inherent difficulties in balancing individual democratic enfranchisement within collective models. We seem to be touching less on design principles than political, economic theories. I agree with Ziad that this remains of paramount importance - it is just how it is viewed from within the design community.

Ziad, you suggest that nations (countries) without "power" should live in their own space, therefore dictating very individual models, styles and forms of construction particularly within the symbolic, public construction?

1) I want to understand exactly what you are saying, I respect your thought - you've thought a great deal about this: I guess my problem may stem from a mis-assumption, that societies with diminished democratic process would in fact disallow the formulation of "collective space" inclusive of "the other." I think that approaches more a political scientific argument between "popular democracy" and "enlightened monarchies..."

2) That "all interventions in 'space' formation should stop" would seem to disallow the adaptation of rational engineering systems, even when possible and appropriate. Is that what you imply? My feeling is that since all engineering and rational scientific method and results are anchored in the natural world, given that the natural world is accepted as the creation of Allah, would that not suggest that refusing the efficacy of proven scientific, engineering or design methods which stand independent of coercive market or political forces is inappropriate?

I don't know, don't claim to know - but would like to know to what extent can proven or 'self-evident' methods of constuction are considered appropriate within a global context, not just regional, cultural contexts.

I guess I am a moderate in this regard: I don't look at the debate between "modernity" versus "antiquity" as a rationale to decide whether a design principle is appropriate or not. I think rather how a design method may, or may not serve the constituent community in a positive way. Islam remains very old compared to any global culture, it is the resiliency which appeals, the intrinsic acknowledgement of self-evident truths also.

So, if we are talking about "styles" here, if we are looking at the importance of preserving valued cultural, religious traditions in the face of denatured or 'international styles' you will find myself at least, mostly in agreement.

It is the intent of the community which ultimately will prevail and I think this should be reflected in our design choices, but not dictative of them. Otherwise we will all be living in sterilized American-style suburbs of limited or actually no intrinsic value.

I would also like to point out, in closing - that the great cultures of the world really transcend all "national" boundaries: It is important for regional identities to be respected always - this reflects the dominant values of culture and belief and rightfully should be reflected in architectural values. I don't want to see the "Islamic" identity tied to any one nation or place, other than Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem - Islam will always be spiritually tied to these places (and many others I do not know, nor can name). I would like to see Islamic elements everywhere I care to go, but I would also like to be able to discern them from other elements as a matter of choice, so I can make that decision freely and without compulsion one way or the other. That is freedom of belief, a democratic principle.

So, (and I guess I have really my foot into it) - I enjoy the controversy over 'deconstruction,' but it will not dictate my esthetics one way or the other. I think architecture can, in fact help "defeat terrorism" by being true to its values, its uses iconic and utilitarian. While there may be "value in ruins" as Albert Speers would have said, I think we have a higher calling to, as you say work for those "who want to live a decent life and breath 'free air'" indepent of "exterior intervention." I have answered this through stressing use of vernacular material where-ever possible to eliminate the "tax" of imported construction materials. What people will build, when they can, supported by their society and governance will reflect their true value.

Slums are the legacy of oppressive governance, not the people.
Anthony Stewart
Architecture against terrorism
Salam Anthony,

No amount of words in this forum can provide solution to any problem. Because problems are out there not at the luxury of our online connection. What can be answered, however, are the voices in the heads of some of us yelling that the world is heading towards more disintegration. This is a truth. Truth is not relative. We need to agree and disagree, because that is the way through which a problem can be understood collectively but not necessary resolved. More so as a design community that holds a responsibility towards humans and nature. 'Top-down and bottom-up' approaches are devices introduced to help us conceptualise possible definitions of problems in both directions and at all possible scales: nations > < responsible officials > < mayors > < clients > < developers > < practicing architects > < architectural students > < adult users > < children > animals. Why? To raise our awareness of the fact that we are all responsible both ways. Yes, I agree with you Anthony that there are 'inherent difficulties in balancing individual democratic enfranchisement within collective models', but it is not an impossibility; there are always ways on the ground to meet these objectives once awareness is in place.

If it appears that we are 'touching less on design principles than political, economic theories' it is because we were trained as designers to look at the parts not the whole. Therefore, our expectation when discussing architecture is always about physical form and style, any thing beyond this is a waste of time. Architectural firms are centralising their practice around selling beautiful and impressive renderings with a touch of culture. Architectural schools around the world follow aesthetics and technological foundations but ignored largely what relates to socio-spatial and cultural relations producing architects who are ill-equipped to even understand the effect of the dichotomy between 'colonial and post-colonial environments' or neo-colonial, if I may add. You may judge for yourself:
http://www.designboom.com/contemporary/dubai1.html
I remain true to Vitruvius on the education of the architect. We as designers need to be balanced around the whole not the parts, but without undermining the parts.

(1) I agree with the stated reality 'societies with diminished democratic process would in fact disallow the formulation of "collective space" inclusive of "the other." Yet the discussion is about how to defeat 'terrorism', and my answer from bottom-up is that people 'should' formulate their own collective space, not that they can; nevertheless, they should. To illustrate with positive and negative ironic examples: mosques in Western countries are free space for worshipping, socialising and learning, while in parts of the Muslim world mosques free air is limited to worshipping only, then gates closed.

(2) '"all interventions in 'space' formation should stop" would seem to disallow the adaptation of rational engineering systems, even when possible and appropriate', is not what implied. I said 'all AUTHORITARIAN interventions in 'space' formation should stop. Examples of undesired authority: egocentric architects, vicious self-interested stingy clients and developers, and policy officials who cannot see beyond the system.' I guess one needs to define 'intervention' in a negative connotation for the above meaning to be clearer. However, rational engineering and their systems in themselves are positive intervention unless proven to be otherwise even if they are efficient; for example, carpet bombs intervening a space of a private residence.

What you said about the 'the intent of the community which ultimately will prevail and I think this should be reflected in our design choices' is right under one condition only: that the communities of users and designers are fully aware of the knowledge of their culture and society in relation to space not surface appearances.

I am not clear on this statement: 'I don't want to see the "Islamic" identity tied to any one nation or place, other than Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.' I guess Islamic and regional identity in the context of the above has been fully discussed, but that does not mean another fresh try can yield satisfying results. I shall welcome a revived invitation from anyone wishes to start it as a new topic.

I believe that you and those in this forum have good intentions operating within a world we can shape, the more we are aware of the whole relations to the parts, the capable we are to relate the parts in such a way that affects the whole positively with all truthfulness.
Ziad Aazam
Architecture against terrorism
i ve taken peace centre as my thesis topic for the purpose of promoting peace in india.. going to propose it in delhi..it is the place where mahatma gandhi was assasinated..the man who sacrificed with all he had for his country, who reshaped the lives of many, who changed the path of the world, who inspired -and still will inspire- mankind till the end of the world was dead
Gandhi's death was regarded as an international crisis. His place in humanity was measured not in terms of the 20th century, but in terms of history. And although Mohandas Gandhi was no more, the Great Soul was eternal forever.
i will ve a
research centre for conflict studies..
a musuem of tolerence
a cultural centre to bring all cultures together
a meditation centre to achieve personal peace of mind..
pl comment:)
Kshitija Aradhya
Architecture against terrorism
How does one define "Terrorism"?

Terrorism by its very nature is designed to inflict as much negative emotion (pain and the fear of pain) as possible through surprise shock. But too much terrorism eventually becomes banal as people become desensitised.

The only sure way to reduce casualties from acts of Terrorism is to forbid the gathering of more than three or four people in any one place, but such a policy acts against the natural social behaviour of humans and would mean the end of all human cultures.

No, Terrorism lies in the hearts and minds of those who want to change the world to match their own ideals; but who cannot wait for other people to agree with them and so acts of Terror are done to literally shake up the `status quo` and so disrupt, disturb and trouble the thoughts of other people that they are forced to think new thoughts and so usher in Utopia.

But, I am not writing only of the physical Terrorisms; I write also of the psychological terrorisms which infest the arts and architecture and which aim to disrupt and disturb the thoughts of other people with "works" which may cause momentary disgust but which today usually cause boredom because the "shock of the new" has been so repetative as to be banal.
Frank John Snelling
Architecture against terrorism
I think that since the homo sapiens sapience the problems of human beings are now classics. so when will we stop war? that is the question.
I am muslim and I am not afraid of other people who are convinced they are right about their religion, I am not interested in exporting islam I want to leave in peace with people. I think God loves everybody and understand them otherwise it would not have helped all nation. I think to ban terror we should belied and trust human kind. it is be difficult religion tried but we have to stick to material things and let spirituality to the responsabilisty of each one. I think that the world should explain more to people the sense of responsability of respect of humain to people. we can not justify killing people under any circumstance. After developping so much wars, after developping so much weapon do you think that any civilisation lasted forever. when we develloped writing and organizing information egyptian lasted thousands years and diseapeared. I think that the global communisty has to evolve and it is evolving and I am optimist I think it will be better. as it is said in french 'c'est bon de se remettre en question de temps en temps'. there is no secret, it is about hard working. and for muslim, I think they should not be afraid to free women, it is very silly not to trust women. I think we are not far from antiquity there is still slavery problems in the world and some feel superior because they are right or they were right about something or about how to gain money. personnally, I need to think I am a complet human ant I am free and I can help people regardless to his or her religion. as it is said in arabic ' a deen mu'amalat'. you can not resolve problem of palestine if you don't consider the shoa and you can not mary a girl of 9 years orld because the social system of muslim society has to evolve. these girls, today, need a social structure to protect them financially. I respect the lady aicha but saidouna mohamed was a prophet. and let'examin arabe gentlman relationship to authority and women. I would give no one my daughter. well monument can educate people against terror and managing space can lead to patience and to having a good time and philosophy in wating, walking and respecting....
Magyda Cherradi
Architecture against terrorism
I am speaking of buildings in muslim world
Magyda Cherradi
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