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What Post Post-Pandemic City Looks Like, According To Architect Eran Chen

Eran Chen, the visionary founder of ODA, a renowned New York City-based architecture and design firm, is reshaping what post post-pandemic city looks like.

George Evans
Feb 27, 20249 Shares2917 Views
Eran Chen, the visionary founder of ODA, a renowned New York City-based architecture and design firm, is reshaping what post post-pandemic city looks like.
With over 50 successfully built projects, Chen contends that architects should not merely act as hired hands meeting client demands but should extend their roles to include programming the purpose of their creations. Furthermore, he emphasizes the importance of architects as activists, ensuring that projects align with the needs of the communities they serve.
In a recent interview, Chen highlighted the profound impact of the pandemic, stating that people now expect more from urban environments. The traditional methods of the pre-pandemic era may no longer suffice, urging architects to adapt to this evolving landscape.
Chen envisions a unique opportunity for architects and designers to reconsider their approach, advocating for a more holistic involvement in the entire lifecycle of a project. This approach, though requiring architects to wear more hats, can result in the creation of buildings and spaces that genuinely cater to people's desires and needs.
In discussing the trends shaping architecture in 2024, Chen points to a significant change in dense urban environments, driven not only by the post-pandemic era but also by technological progress. He emphasizes the blurring lines between private and public realms, urging architects to extend the public realm into private land and buildings.
I’m fascinated by the opportunities of blurring those lines, extending the public realm into private land and into the buildings themselves as an element that allows us to transform our cities less by program or less by district and more by experiences.- Eran Chen
The conversation delves into the evolving role of architects, with Chen noting a shift towards more active involvement in the programming of buildings. Technology has blurred traditional programmatic definitions, allowing architects to shape buildings that accommodate various activities. The focus has shifted from function to experiences, with Chen coining the term "form follows fun," highlighting the importance of shaping buildings based on the experiences they offer.
Chen acknowledges that this shift is gradually permeating the industry, with private sector developers recognizing the commercial success of innovative building designs. He identifies the opportunity in repurposing empty office buildings, advocating for transformative changes that extend beyond traditional retail solutions.

So, The Architect Needs To Be More Of An Instigator?

Moreover, Chen advocates for architects to reclaim a broader role within society, emphasizing community outreach, advocacy, and activism. He sees architects as potential instigators who can bridge the gaps between communities, policymakers, and private actors.
If we find a way to communicate well and understand our clients’ needs but also come with a deep understanding of our communities and also a deep understanding of policies, we can be the pivotal point that creates a change and creates a win-win situation.- Eran Chen

Final Thoughts

Eran Chen envisions architects in 2024 as multifaceted professionals, embracing roles as programmers, activists, and societal connectors. As architects embrace their responsibilities as programmers, activists, and instigators, they have a unique opportunity to shape cities based on experiences, not just functions.
The evolving landscape, shaped by post-pandemic expectations, calls for architects to actively engage in community advocacy, fostering positive change. Chen's advocacy for architects as societal connectors highlights the potential for positive change, creating a win-win scenario for both clients and communities.
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