Fair Building

Why don’t buildings come with fair trade marks?

Fair Building

Why don’t buildings come with fair trade marks?
Is “fair building” possible in architecture? And whose responsibility is it?
File under
  • # Construction
  • # Social

In the consumption-driven world that we live in, we increasingly pay attention to whether the products we buy bear a ‘fair trade’ mark, whether they were manufactured in decent conditions, whether the company behind them cares for its employees, the environment and so on. And what about architecture? As its consumers, we perceive buildings as part of our natural environment, as something that is given to us. As long as construction works don’t interfere with our daily life, we tend to ignore them. As makers of architecture we focus only on those parts of the process that we are personally responsible for, and often know little, or nothing about the rest of the chain.

Despite technological advances, construction of the building remains an unpredictable process
and a struggle with the material. Manual labour is still needed to create buildings. Yet the contribution made by construction workers is missing from the architectural debate, as if their perspective didn’t matter at all.

Idea by

Dominika Janicka
Institute of Design Kielce
Gdańsk Institute of Technology and the Institut Supérieur d’Architecture La Cambre in Brussels. She has worked with architecture firms based in Poland, Belgium, Germany and China. Author of successful competition entries. Since 2014, co-runs the Public Space Studio at the Institute of Design Kielce. Curator of the 2016 Polish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

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