WHO IS HAPPY?
23 March - 08 April
WHO IS HAPPY?
text by Haugen/Zohar Arkitekter
An expending library of research is confirming the folk wisdom that, beyond a certain point, having more stuff doesn't make us happier. We are already far beyond the point where it is any relationship between our earnings and our life satisfactions. It isn't simply that the consumer culture hasn't delivered us into happiness, or has failed to pay its ecological bill. It have brought with it demonstrable human costs. We are adapted to the thinking that as country gets richer; it also gets cleaner and more efficient. But, in some ways, the opposite is the case and we have merely exported our ecological impact. This is an issue which, when linked with the global challenge of poverty reduction, gives us both our biggest problem and greatest opportunity.
So where does this lead us as architects running a little studio in the northern part of the northern hemisphere? We are not urging a miserable belt-tightening exercise or a patronizing go green mantra. But gradually we find that thrift, far from being a self-denying virtue, is a positive and joyful one. Thrift is creative! It is creative because it is anti-waste. When you make three meals out of one chicken, you are being creative. When you throw it away after one meal, you are being wasteful. Thrift is also anti capitalist because capitalism loves waste. Waste is at its essence capitalist because waste means money and money means more spending.
Reuse does not contradict holding paste with technology, nor does it contradict innovation. We believe in second hand processes simply because it makes us happy. This happiness is not the same happiness as witnessing the national football team win the world cup. For us, this happiness is being all that you can; Flourishing throughout life with virtues such as courage, awareness and friendliness.
So the questions we are dealing with on daily basis are: How do we translate this insight into architecture? What subjects does it mean we should address? What tools do we have to make sense of it? And ultimately, how can we deliver higher quality of architecture and still remain happy?
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