In March, just before lockdown I was lucky enough to see the extraordinary show ‘Countryside, The Future’ at the Guggenheim in New York curated by Rem Koolhaas and Samir Bantal. It is a forensic analysis of the changing dynamic between cities and the countryside. As the pandemic has unfolded over recent months posing urgent questions about the way we view the countryside, the exhibition seems more prescient than ever. An unlikely but spellbinding look at data storage, fulfilment centres, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence and robotic automation, as Koolhaas comments ‘It is the first time that a contemporary art institution will dedicate itself entirely to everything which is not art’.
Over the past twenty years at Richard Parr Associates we’ve been addressing the shifting trends which increasingly focus our attention on the importance of nature, space, sustainability and food production and the role of progressive architecture in redefining our relationship with the world outside the city. We are strong believers that our role as Architects is not to preserve ‘in aspic’, nor is it to destroy the essence of the place we are seeking to develop and enhance. Most importantly we believe sustainable and progressive architecture has a crucial role to play in a post-pandemic future.
On October 3rd 2020 the Guggenheim will reopen. If these themes strike a chord, I urge you to see the exhibition and if you aren’t in New York, the pocket-sized catalogue gives quite an insight with essays and photos of the extraordinary changing landscape of the global countryside.