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Shared Intelligences IQD 64


TAMassociati is a team of architects, engineers and researchers, whose building solutions worldwide improve lives, strengthen communities and provide creative responses to climate change: combining high quality with affordability. The firm’s design ethos can be summed up as Innovative design for Impact. Internationally, TAMassociati works on sustainable and socially equitable architecture. The office has won widespread recognition and numerous prizes. In 2013 it received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the excellence represented by the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan, the international Ius- Capocchin prize for construction of the world’s most sustainable paediatric hospital (Port Sudan) and the Curry Stone Design Prize for the overall sustainability (social and environmental) of recent projects built in different parts of the world. In 2014 the practice won the Zumtobel Group Award for innovation and sustainability. TAM was was named Italian Architect of the year for 2014 “for its ability to enhance the ethical dimension of the profession.” It has been the curatorial team of the Italian Pavilion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 2016. In 2017 the firm has won the LafargeHolcim Awards Acknowledgement prize with the project “Maisha film Lab”, Kampala, Uganda. Currently TAMassociati is working in Uganda, Cameroon, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Yemen, Qatar, Lebanon, Switzerland and Italy.

Shared intelligences

The function of architecture is to interpret reality and respond to needs. The task of art, on the other hand, appears to be to unhinge the impassive course of events, to grasp the stimuli coming from not yet formalized physical and social contexts, to foreshadow the future. In 2019, a recent time, yet one that already feels remote, Tessa Maria Guazon, curator of the Philippine Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, described the concept of her exhibition entitled Shared vulnerabilities – Vulnerabilità condivise: We are buoyed by the seeming dissolution of borders, the unprecedented speed of time, and a mobility across places never before experienced. Yet we relentlessly face the threats of displacement, discrimination, and disasters: Nature is our great leveler. And again, in referring to a world that is increasingly interconnected today, she urged reflection on the words of Denis Cosgrove (2001) when he speaks of an oceanic globalism… an interconnection and a shared vulnerability. These words are now superseded by present events but are at the same time extraordinarily timely. The Western world is experiencing a state of precariousness that represents the everyday life of a large part of the populations of the global South. Poverty, uncertainty, lack of rights, economic precariousness and threats to health, the climate crisis and environmental changes that until now mainly affected the lives of the majority of people in the southern hemisphere are now tangible realities in the rest of the world as well. Unshakable faith in the progressive destiny of the Western model of development has given way to uncertainty about the future, fear, awareness of our vulnerability. The sharing of perspectives thus becomes a starting point for imagining a necessary and indissolubly interconnected future between all the parties involved. The front is common: what we do, as responsible builders of the future, concerns all the places of living as a whole. Today, therefore, it is inevitable to start again from degree zero to imagine the writing of this shared future. What grammar will we need to use to rewrite it? The shared vulnerabilities and needs tell us that we will have to start from the fundamentals: from simplicity, restraint, the economy of gestures and the use of materials, from the redistribution of material and intellectual resources and from here to walk the paths of scientific research and innovation as indispensable tools for achieving our goal. An overall picture with these features brings out strongly the need to reconsider the dwelling places of our near future as collective works capable of welcoming communities and generating common goods in their service, as we try to move beyond the concept of a relative good that would cease to exist in the absence of the indispensable common goods (water, land, the economy). The process of conception and realization of the project, whether it is architecture, urban or landscape design, can therefore only be structured in such a way as to involve designers, institutions and users in the construction of a complex vision capable of transcending the mere utility or aesthetics of the object, in response to the urgent needs expressed by the physical and social places we have to deal with. The challenges that the future places before us so that our world can continue to be a place where human life itself is still sustainable require an approach that places the issues of complexity and multidisciplinarity at the center of our concern. It is a question of making use of, and networking, different and complementary skills and intelligences to give an answer to the state of complexity that we live in. In other words, we need move beyond disciplinary barriers and recognize an ongoing process that involves different skills but above all different intelligences to be combined and networked. There are many definitions that can be given to the intelligences that we consider necessary to plan the future. Wishing to find a minimum common denominator, we recognized it in the dimension of sharing. Sharing intelligences means making a contribution to that systemic approach that we inevitably hold to be necessary. We therefore wanted to invite people of different genders, cultures, professional and research fields to contribute to the question: how will we be able to adapt to the environment in a drastic phase of change? This magazine, in its taking shape starting from the thinking involvement of multidisciplinary sensors that compose it, ultimately represents a product of shared and extended intelligence and at the same time an open process aimed at defining new concepts of inhabiting the planet.

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