The Berlin Manifesto: Social Transformation for Sustainable Design

By Patrick J. Ashton and Matthew Kubik.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this paper we discuss first, the nature of the mechanical world view and the crisis it has produced. Second we discuss the concept of sustainable design and the changes necessary to implement it. Ultimately we embed our principles in a document we call The Berlin Manifesto. We do this in part because we developed this manifesto for and at the Third International Conference on Design Principles and Practices which was held in Berlin in February 2009. But it is entirely appropriate to designate it The Berlin Manifesto because Berlin was the final home of the Bauhaus. The Staatliches Bauhaus was the early 20th century school that transformed the practice of design as an extension of technology and mass production. Its mechanical worldview ethic and industrial esthetics have been adopted worldwide, especially in architecture, with significant detrimental environmental effects. We believe that ideas and design can change individuals and institutions. The Berlin Manifesto, generated through an international collaboration, establishes design principles for a new age. Designers must now transform design practice. It is the sustainable transformations of the built environment and the designed object, incorporated into daily life, that will support the change of culture.

Keywords: Sustainable Design, Sustainability, Social Change, Built Environment, Worldview, Manifesto, Bauhaus

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 6, pp.281-290. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.130MB).

Dr. Patrick J. Ashton

Associate Professor, Sociology, Director, Peace and Conflict Studies, Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA

I am working with Professor Matt Kubik, architect, on the connection between social issues and the built environment. Specifically, we are looking at how competing political ideologies shape different design strategies and interactions with the built environment. We taught a nationally-televised honors course that examined how modernism has created an urban built environment in the U.S. that undermines sociality and community and explored possible alternatives in new urbanism and social ecology. Recently, in connection with an exhibit of first edition famous printed works, we taught a mini-course that examined how foundational ideologies in Western thought are expressed in the built environment. I have published a number of articles on the political economy of suburban development as well as analysis of the concept of community.

Matthew Kubik

Associate Professor, Interior Design Program, Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA

I am an architect and Associate Professor of Interior Design at Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne, USA. I hold a Bachelor of Architecture Degree from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA. I was one of the first graduates of the Architectural Association School of Architecture Energy Programme, London, England earning a Graduate Diploma. I also did post-graduate studies at the Royal College of Art, London, England. My design practice focuses on issues of aesthetic expression resulting from minimum energy use as a design determinant. My portfolio includes appropriate technology detailing for projects in Algeria, earth sheltered housing, and passive solar architecture. My current research with sociologist Pat Ashton is a study of cultural transformation incurred through controversial ideas from ancient through modern sources and resultant expressions in the built environment.

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