Can you imagine a world without architecture?

SCI-Arc has produced a new short film that serves as a reminder of the role of architecture in everyday life and begs the question: Can you imagine a world without architecture? 

The film differs from typical messaging coming from architecture, arguably both the academic and professional communities. Instead of exploring elevations and tectonics, the video uses terms like beauty, humanity, and heights to reference architecture's role in the world.

“The natural tendency is for schools of architecture—and even SCI-Arc—to talk to an insider audience, and in this context we always assume the relevance of architecture,” explains SCI-Arc Director Hernan Diaz Alonso. “To communicate with a larger audience we need to establish why architecture matters, why it needs to be supported, and why we need to keep educating architects.”

The concept was developed as a reminder to everyone, especially those outside the world of architecture, of the power the discipline has to define human desires, achievements, aspirations, culture, and history. Without architecture, there would be nowhere to hang and observe groundbreaking works of art; nowhere to store libraries and volumes of the recorded ideas shaping mankind; no structures in which to worship a higher power. The language is a call-to-arms of sorts to consider how our world is put together, subtly connecting the architect’s ethos with the aspiration of producing a symbiotic dynamic between practice and public. Placing this language alongside widely recognized architectural works, from the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Empire State Building in New York City to the St. Louis Arch in Missouri, reminds viewers of the origins of some of the most well-trafficked tourist destinations in the world.

“As leaders we are obliged to engage with society at large,” Diaz Alonso explains. “SCI-Arc wants to be a place for the pursuit of architecture as a cultural practice, not only as a profession, and this cannot happen in a vacuum.”