Contemporary architecture and development in the US is dominated by a distinctly American cultural hegemony. Throughout American history, a streamlined and very nearly imperceptible oppression of the many has been employed to maintain the power and privilege of the few under the guise of equality, liberty, democracy. Such is the case in the architecture and development of the American city today. It is the aim of a more Christian architecture structurally to undo this hegemony.
This is accomplished in three ways: First, by working within a capitalist economy to provide the tangible benefits of architecture to those without means. Second, by learning to recognize and understand structural inequality. And third, by creating greater structural equality. We begin to create greater structural equality by developing and applying architecture’s instrumentality to bring people together as symbiotically as possible through nuanced negotiation of domain.
In the town of Cary, North Carolina, just outside Raleigh, a new single family residential development is underway. What is unique about this project is that KB Homes, the developer and builder of the project, has gone into partnership with Martha Stewart, the queen of upscale domestic fantasy(1). There is no better example of the way developers and builders are turning to marketing strategies that had previously been the domain of manufacturers of cars and cosmetics.
The construction of single family residences is growing faster than all other types of construction combined. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the housing industry represents more than twenty-five percent of investment dollars and a five percent value of the overall economy. Housing starts are a leading indicator in the economy because they detect forward looking trends. And the design of the new American home has become a corporate process researched by analysts and molded into a prescribed package for the consumer. Whether it can be called architecture is another matter.
The world sometimes presents itself as a mountain of insurmountable inequality, despair.
Amen, amen, I say unto, if you have faith and you believe, you can say to a mountain, “Be lifted up and cast into the sea” and it will be done for you.
We therefore muster the faith to take on a project as
utterly impossible as it is necessary.
Our goal is nothing short of casting a human-made mountain of inequality and despair, the ghetto of the Americas, into the sea--yet, not by obliterating the built environment, but by changing it, transforming it.
a project for a more Christian architecture
explores the possibilities for structuring our world to reflect our Christian Faith.