Architecture and Culture: A Villages and Globalization Issue

vol.5, issue 1

Nearly half of humanity is “rural,” mostly living in villages, somewhere in the ninety-seven percent or so of the world’s land mass that is defined as “not urban.” Considering this, it is surprising that while the shelves of architecture department libraries groan under the weight of books about cities and urbanization, one has to hunt for those sparsely scattered texts about contemporary rural settlements. In the UK, the work of Gillian Darley has been the notable exception, but few others have followed her lead. [Gillian Darley, Villages of Vision (London: Architectural Press, 1975)]. However, as interest in the wider metabolism of urbanization grows within the discipline, so too does architecture’s interest in rural terrains and settlements. Highly regarded outfits like Rural Studio and Rural Urban Framework put the rural at the heart of their practice, and the current attention being given to rural issues by major architectural figures such as Wang Shu and Rem Koolhaas has also added momentum to this expansion of architecture’s terrains. The aim of this issue of Architecture and Culture is to contribute to this growing interest with these eight articles about villages, and ideas about villages in an age of globalization, not only in rural terms but also in terms of what cities might learn from studying them (is it possible to know what a city is without understanding its relationship with the countryside?).

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