Recovering Humanism

Yamazaki Kentaro Design Workshop

There is a big wall between urban and nature in modern society. Urban is a place where people labour, get money and live. On the contrary, nature is a place to rest, object to be appreciated, and where people can feel free away from the busy urban life. From the late 20th century (although there are some examples from 19th), a lot of efforts have done to protect nature. Consequently, in one sense, nature became to be well preserved. In addition, especially in German, there are some practices to make people close to nature. For example, Kleingarten is a system of plot of land, which is leased to people as a garden. Moreover, Biotope is an attempt to make a living place for a specific assemblage of plants and animals. With the help of that, green became more immediate to our life. However, nature is still set apart from our daily life. We, urban people, get up in some storied apartment, go out by trains or cars, work and shop at big buildings. We can see trees, flowers or garden, but ‘nature’ is so far beyond that we should plan trip to be surrounded by nature. Then, how can we live with nature? Should we go to deep behind the mountains and live as self-sufficiently?
Kleingarten and Biotope are ways to cultivate nature. There are also arrangements of natural green, attempts to make wild, strong nature, which is beyond mortal control, stay closer to human beings. Slow architecture is also a trial to cultivate industrialized world, especially house and town. That is to make urban-life more relaxed and comfortable thing. Cultivate is not like control. When people cultivate, they arrange the soil and ground in proper way, but don’t excessively systematize it. Furthermore, while seeds growing, people do very small things to keep it well, just to help soil and seeds. Hence people draw very rough image about the process and goal. This is similar to ‘culture’, which has same etymology as cultivate, and quite different from ‘civilization’. Besides, plow the land is a very important process when cultivate. That means to make the foundation. In terms of urban life, it can be to built house.
What we cultivate in this land is Humanism. It is a challenge to cultivate our life and recover what we lost in this time of commercialism. We, human beings, invented a lot of things and innovated our environment. In this process, we overlooked some very important things, our wish to be free. We have bound ourselves by times we set, by systems we created. Recovering Humanism is a proposal to enable us to mature our good image, which is in deep inside of our heart, and let us established more steadily on this earth.
There is one thing we can do, to CULTIVATE. The etymology of labour is ‘toil’ in Latin, which means hard and continuous work, a laborious task, battle or struggle in archaic. Thus, when we labour we are controlled by something, and the job is that we must do. Therefore in this sense, we can’t feel free from the labour. On the other hand, work has another etymology ‘werg’, which means ‘to do’. In this point, work doesn’t have a nuance like forced. In industrial revolution times’ urban, there was some small amount of rulers and people served them. Meanwhile, in today’s society, the way of working has been changed so differently, as people don’t always have to go to the office to work, and adjust the amount of work in the proper way as they wish. Thinking about architecture, slow architecture is now has been considered. In it, it takes long time to built and is not necessarily efficient. It focuses the point which is not spotted by the capitalism.