In the past few weeks, two controversial architectural interventions in the historic centers of two French cities have been reported in the media. The first is the Luma Tower in Arles, designed by architect Frank Gehry. The second is Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s renovation of the Bourse de Commerce of Paris, which since March houses François Pinault’s contemporary art collection.
At the same time, more and more initiatives around the world are promoting the creation of more beautiful places and buildings that are in harmony with local cultures and traditions and respectful of the environment. Examples can be found in the exhibition Timeless Architecture, organized by INTBAU and recently inaugurated in Madrid; in the work developed by the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission, which seeks to improve the way cities are being transformed in the United Kingdom; by La Table Ronde de l’Architecture, which from Belgium has taken up the baton from Maurice Culot in the fight against the phenomenon that has come to be known as “Brusselization“; by the initiatives born under the influence of Danish urban planner Jan Gehl, who for decades has been promoting the creation of cities that take into account the scale and needs of the people who live in them; or by citizen initiatives that in various Scandinavian countries, under the shared name in their various languages of “Architectural Uprising“, are confronting today’s dominant architecture and urbanism and defending an architecture and a city model based on local tradition.
INTBAU is a network of people and institutions which have the aim of promoting the creation of places and buildings which are more human, which get to be in harmony with the local culture and its traditions and which are also respectful with regard to the environment, bearing in mind the local climate and the available resources. By promoting and teaching architecture, town planning and the arts of traditional building, we encourage people to study, to maintain and to restore both buildings and traditional urban complexes. We also encourage them to create new spaces and places which, taking these traditional ones as a reference, contribute to a better quality of life in the cities and villages throughout the world.