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October 15, 2008

An inquisitive exhibit recently extended through January 2009 at the Danish Architecture Center asks “What if architecture could change the world?” Building Sustainable Communities focuses on 140 current projects by 21 Danish architecture and engineering firms that have the goals of “enhancing human dignity and creating sustainable living conditions for people around the world.” (In addition, each of the companies featured in the show are ones that have committed to the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest voluntary CSR initiative.)

whatifarchitecture

The projects—presented in text and multimedia formats along with scaled models—correlate to one of the five questions further posed in the exhibit relating to living, working, knowledge, public, and culture. The exhibit is scheduled to travel to Abu Dhabi, UAE; New York, New York; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Shanghai, China next year. Here’s a taste of what’s on display:

Jiarun Gardens’s 1,000,000-square-foot residential district project constructed outside Beijing by Schmidt hammer lassen answers the question “What if housing was designed to generate human dignity?”

Ramboll and Norwin engineering firms and Atkins Architects are working together on the World Trade Center in Manama, Bahrain, which responds to the “working” category question: “What if workplaces supported innovation, growth, and wealth?”

Mette Lange Architects present their Moving School project in Goa, India, as a solution to “What if healthcare, education, and information were designed for everyone?”

SLA Landscape Architects’ Jury’s Berkeley Court in Ireland, a modern interpretation of the historic Trinity College Botanic Gardens in Dublin, is an example for “What if public spaces promoted the participation and safe co-existence of citizens?”

Henning Larsen Architects’ rose-shaped Massar Children’s Discovery Center in Damacus, Syria, shows the possibilities of designing with the last question in mind: “What if architecture and planning promoted local cultural development through global awareness?”

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