Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Lecture worth a Damn

Cameron Sinclair performs God's work.

That is our reaction to Cameron's lecture last night at the Idea Center. The lecture, the last in the recent Talalay Lecture Series sponsored by MOCA Cleveland, was clearly the most interesting, potent, and relevant talk we have experienced in quite a while.

While many of us play within the esotericism of current architectural and urban thought, Sinclair and his organization Architecture for Humanity acts, facilitates, and builds hundreds of buildings around the world, influencing thousands of people on many continents. Sinclair truly builds for the masses, all by utilizing decentralized and open networks of emerging global architectural talent, instead of top-down master dictated central planning structures.

Although we live in a spikey world of innovation and creativity (see Richard Florida's recent book Who's Your City), we also live in a flat world (see Tom Friedman's The World is Flat) which allows the distribution of innovative architectural ideas through emerging digital networks. AFH takes advantage eager+willing+idealistic professionals and designers around the globe to solve problems that heavy + clunky international organizations and NGOs cannot. AFH's portfolio of work exhibits the agency that thoughtfully construed architecture can possess, facilitating the building of community, the dissemination of education, the easing of tension and strife, the enlightening of intellect, and the bolstering of local economies. All architects wish that we could create building which could have such a profound influence.

The question for us, in Cleveland, is what we can do to aid in AFH's vital mission of delivering sensitive and effective design solutions to populations who do not usually have access to architectural and engineering professionals. Sadly, we here in Cleveland do not necessarily have to look more than a few miles to perform work that can be immediately beneficial.

Bravo, Mr. Sinclair. Your work inspires and touches the soul.

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