The Values of Architecture
Architecture has always been found in a space between its monetary and cultural values, but the rise of the concept of the cultural economy asks new questions as to how these values of architecture intersect and affect one another. Discussions of the cultural economy tend to deal with architecture and urban design as the infrastructure of culture, asking questions such as: what building types and land values enable a vibrant popular music culture; or, what landmark cultural flagships drive cultural tourism and city branding.
Architecture itself is rarely seen as a matter of culture or, if it is, it becomes framed as a symptom of the social inequities of gentrification. It seems that outside of the architecture and design communities, architecture is not culture but its scaffold. At the same time, those cultural forms usually seen as having pure intrinsic value—the visual and performing arts, literature, music and the like—are now also seen as having socio-economic values of the kinds usually claimed by architecture in economics and employment, value in community engagement and even health and well-being. One can be sceptical of the efficacy and the politics of exchanging cultural, social and economic values in this way, but the fact that culture is now seen as a wholistic interacting system capable of measurement asks new questions of the place of architecture. As methods for assessing value become increasingly important in the management of culture, the conference asks: how do we understand the values of architecture as a matter of culture?