Mark Raymond on City and Design

“Architecture is the making of the city over time.” – Italian architect Aldo Rossi

Mark Raymond, president of The Trinidad and Tobago Institute of Architects, argues that, in order to achieve a more equitable society, cities must design public spaces that facilitate greater participation. He criticizes the privileging of architecture as visual commodity over more pragmatic aspects of design like how a space will be used. Instead of creating cities that boast spectacular buildings designed by star architects, the focus should be on the production of spaces that bring people together. I wholeheartedly agree and recommend that you watch the video. However, I find it surprising that he mentions Barcelona as a blueprint to follow. What one can and cannot do in public space in Barcelona has progressively become more restricted since the passing of the Laws of Communal Living in 2005. Also, the image of Barcelona is tied precisely to famous architects like Richard Meier and Jean Nouvel and their respective buildings, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) and the Torre Agbar to name a few. The latest spectacular project to generate controversy has been the Hotel Vela by the highly acclaimed architect Ricardo Bofill. This luxury hotel is just another example of urban planning that does not benefit the people…