additional reading


generalist_cfp_savingCall for Papers
for Issue No. 5: “SAVING”

Entry deadline for synopses is 30. September 2010

>>Download (PDF): generalist_cfp_saving>>Download remarks about submissions (PDF)

After the 2008 real estate crisis and the 2009 financial crisis, after scores of governmental aid packages for private-sector businesses, after Greece’s quasi-bankruptcy, and beneath the Damocles sword of devaluation experienced by some EU countries as their ratings fell from triple-A to double-A, the economic developments have recently shown a political reaction: Shortly before the start of the collective World Cup frenzy, the government has gotten the so-called austerity package on its way.
Never before was the German national debt as high as it is now. That’s a statement whose significance—in light of whirling-Dervish-like spiraling debt—will likely already be outdated and replaced by the end of this sentence, but certainly by the end of this text. In its 2010/2 issue titled Saving, GENERALIST wants to deal with a constraint that now seems relevant—not only in regard to the energy industry, but also on a societal level.

Saving is the methodical storage of values with the perspective of an accrual that can unlock future opportunities. In the sense of “saving for something” or “saving up,” this action is not targeted on current sacrifice, but rather on future benefit or safety—never in this century was the savings rate in Germany as high as it is right now (currently approx. 15%). But also conversely, forced saving and saving due to a lack of something are rooted in common speech, and will probably gain significance in this sense in the future: whoever has lived beyond his or her circumstances must “find savings;” whoever is willing to practice doing without can “save something.”

The process is always tied to a scale, it is always visible in the difference with what could have been, or what is spent or afforded elsewhere. “Economical” is less than the standard, and represents a form of mediocrity. In architecture, however, economy, sacrifice, and even minimalism are always perceived as a quality wherever the standard – particularly regarding decoration – could be identified as excessive; here, the benchmarks are reset little by little. In the future, we will nevertheless become increasingly involved with architectures that are shaped by sheer deficiency or forced savings, and thus characterized by sacrifice, restriction, or contentment; Opulence or city palace—we might as well save it immediately.

Nonetheless, constraints from deficiency always also carry creative potential (to not try turning the crisis into an opportunity or poverty into an innovation). By no means do the optimization of building costs and architectural aesthetics constitute a dichotomy, but they often appear in fruitful interaction in the field. Mini-houses, plain buildings, temporary constructions, and structures preprogrammed to degenerate are products and symbols of an economy that seeks an escape from the banality of the cheap in the prestige of the inexpensive.

GENERALIST seeks built projects that were able to turn financial adversity into architectural virtue. Along with buildings that might soon be considered prototypes under the aforementioned conditions, observations of theoretical nature are also welcome: accounts of cost-cutting or gathering savings as well as fundamental questions about necessity and the implications of the restrictions. The search for good and likewise economical architecture always implies the question of what is fundamental to building.

At this point in GENERALIST’s call for papers, you generally find a possible structure for the issue that lists some conceivable subjects for articles; however, the span of potential contributions on the topic is so abundant that we have simply decided to save the proposals this time around.