Introduction

Ongoing public debates tell us that we live in a turbulent world whose future is catastrophic. Turbulence, in today’s world, appears to mark its real presence in the spheres of nature, economy, society, technology and community, all of which are hard to lock into separate compartments. In this backdrop, academic inquiries in several disciplines, including architecture, are making serious interrogations into the discourses and practices of uncertainty and turbulence, and offering new provocations to engage with them.

Architectural practices have stood on both sides of the debate, having contributed to the creation of turbulence as well as attempted to resolve the conflicts that arise from it. They have contributed to the creation of unsustainable landscapes or shepherded environmental movements, created gated enclaves or championed for mass housing, endorsed urban renewal or advocated for heritage conservation, provided form to organizations of power or collaborated with marginalized communities to resist resource appropriation, and even embraced artificial intelligence or revived ancient logics to organize space.

How can we as architects, reconceptualize the energies of turbulence and engage them in the making of places? How can we think with turbulence; of environments beyond crises, cities beyond contests and narratives of lack, difference beyond discrimination, technologies beyond fear and annihilation, and communities along with all the diversities within them? This symposium frames some of the questions that have emerged along SEA’s journey in research and pedagogy over the past five years for dialogue with a wider audience. It draws the experiences of five diversely situated practices into conversation with practitioners at SEA towards opening new ways to think about engagements with our turbulent world.