ija+e: International Journal of Architecture & Ekistics issue 001

The cities and the architectural expression of our buildings are continuously changing responding to the dynamics of development. The old fabrics are giving way to the new, the traditional to modern, the local to international responding to the changing demands and exposure. The transformation has been going on since the beginning of the civilizations, but the rate of change has accelerated with more intense and rapid evolution than before.

The technological advancements in construction technology and materials along with the increasing exposure through the World Wide Web have taken the architecture to new heights. The increase in population and economic development pushed the growth towards the cities, which led to an increase in demand for more and better buildings, industries, roads, physical and social infrastructure. The monumental churches, mosques which served as the real centres of the city, gave way to the new skyline adorned by modern skyscrapers. The automobiles expanded the cities to continuous stretches of miles which completely altered the scale and environment of the buildings. The pace of urbanization and crunch of space in smaller countries led to dense urban centres with skyscrapers at the cost of the traditional city fabrics.  

Architecture has been transforming with other drivers, which changed the physical form of the cities – the Great Chicago fire in 1871 created the opportunity of ‘Great rebuilding’; the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco and 1923 in Tokyo paved the way for reshaping the traditional Japanese city fabric towards the modern metropolis. The two World Wars saw massive destruction of the cities in Europe. Some cities reconstructed as per the old design schemes like Warsaw, Poland; while some chose to rebuild the old selectively and reconstruct the rest of the City on the new lines like Dresden, Germany. The civil wars too have their share of destroying the rich tapestry of the culturally rich cities like Beirut and Aleppo. While Aleppo is still in the damaged state, Beirut was rebuilt by a private company as a symbol of modern and luxurious , creating a ‘city of exclusion’ in the process. The current trend of making iconographic , signature towers as symbols of pride and global image have seen many towers coming up in Shanghai, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia each notching a scale higher than the other. The expansion of the Holy Makkah and Medina complexes has transformed them from the humble holy spaces to large size prayer arenas with shiny, mammoth sized towers hovering above them. Cities like Brussels, Prague, Manchester, Rotterdam, London, Boston, have the new steel and glass clad structures existing with the old, renaissance style ones.

The first issue of the International Journal of Architecture and Ekistics [ija+e] aims to look at the dimension of transition in architecture across the spectrum and varied scales. The themes of the articles can vary from micro transitions in spaces, materials and vocabulary to the bigger scales of transformations happening in city fabric, buildings and construction technologies across the globe.

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