Translate a book into Albanian with the terminological, conceptual and theoretical richness it is Architecture and Modernity aims, among other things, at the enrichment of the baggage related to the language of architecture in this country.
This will contribute, in some way, to the development of a professional debate based not on rhetoric, but on theoretical arguments, also aimed at the development of architectural criticism, currently almost absent in Albania.
In this regard, I would like to say that I am personally convinced that the poverty of architecture, of the city and of the territory comes first of all from spiritual poverty, which in turn derives from the poverty of cultural and conceptual baggage.
For historical reasons, the language of architecture and urban planning, and therefore the understanding of many phenomena in Albania, sometimes seems to be prey to the isolation of the nineties, immediately before the collapse of the dictatorship. The territorial and urban chaos would reflect, among other things, our mental confusion on the meaning of things and, above all, the lack of common understanding of certain phenomena (The same expressions "urban planning", "spatial planning" and "spatial planning" used simultaneously, they are not equally shared by all in their meanings).
This involves the difficulty not only in understanding one another, but even more seriously, in relation to negotiation and agreements. So not only must we continue to translate into Albanian a greater number of books that belong to different professional sectors but we should also create the conditions for a profound participation of the professional world in these initiatives, despite the fact that some issues may have a limited number of readers .
Reading Architecture and Modernity, some questions arise spontaneously. One that I consider crucial is the question of how much what is described in this book over the time span from the Bauhaus to the IT revolution influenced Albania. How much have we Albanians been able to go through the emancipatory force described in this book, as has happened with so much effort in other countries? How much have the architects and urban planners in different historical phases of Albania's development aspired and supported the idea of a more just society?
The book, I mean, helps to reflect on our concrete circumstances and inspires us to even consider our situation, without those obstacles often created by provincial prides. And I think this is the only way to venture optimistically towards Modernity in architecture and planning. For certain historical circumstances, Albania has not only not been part of this inspiration, but even now I believe that little effort is made to understand it and study it, and above all to pass it on to new generations.
The same movements within the professions of architect and urban planner in Albania have not in fact passed through these processes of consolidation and stratification of thought, as happened in many Western European countries. It must be said that, starting from the twenties of the last century (which also coincides with the period in which the events described in this book are narrated) until the eve of the Second World War, in Albania these professionals were present and active although in a number limited to be able to have a driving force.
Later, during the totalitarian regime, the situation worsened, as freedom of expression, and consequently the opportunities to open up to a broader debate, were simply stifled. The consequences of this long period of isolation are still felt today above all in the absence of a tradition of a discourse based on ideas and concepts filtered through history as well as scientific research. Professionals seeking to manifest a new attitude often feel oppressed by the mediocrity of the debate or by the bursting of those segments of the politics connected with interests that go beyond architecture and planning. This is intended only as a very brief reflection that industry professionals should accept with seriousness and self-criticism.
The substantial messages that we wanted to bring to the Albanian context by translating this book are multiple, rich and profound. The most important is that related to seeing Modernity as courage to open new fronts, as inspiration, as an attempt to translate crises into value, which is the main leitmotiv of the book, as the author himself claims.
Thus, it becomes clear that Modernity in architecture is Modernity in history. The book seems to focus on this idea from the twenties of the twentieth century, namely from the acceptance of the industrial model in architecture, and from the Bauhaus proceeds to the present day, with research in architecture based on the Computer Revolution. The discussion takes place through the narration of key catalysts of Modernity and their concatenations with other disciplinary fields, as well as with historical events of epochal impact, which allows us to glimpse a complex perspective of the events that occurred and those expected. This is a unique value of the book.
Article of Sotir Dhamo. 02 June 2016 published in Albanian. Original title "Një mesazh optimizmi për kërkimin në arkitekturë dhe planifikim ".
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