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Contemporary architecture can be understood as all that is done from the mid-twentieth century to the present. It is important not to confuse contemporary architecture with modern architecture. The second appears after the First World War, where the economy, the rejection of ornament, but above all, the hope in technology for an improvement in people's lives, and the house as a "machine for living", - as Le Corbusier was looking for- were the basis of architecture until well into the 60's, while contemporary architecture appears as a large number of varied positions that oppose each other; Postmodernism, Deconstructivism, Super modernism, Minimalism, among others. 


The main criticism of contemporary architecture is that it has become irrelevant, that is, architects tend to deal with issues that only interest other architects, and we do not commit ourselves to important issues that concern society. The academic world has not been able to prepare professionals who act adequately in the current reality, being relegated from these issues for having a foreign training and leaving these issues to other professions, an example of this is the social interest housing problem that all of Latin America has . 


What architects and urban designers need is to learn to work under constraints of time, budget, space and political agenda. We understand these same restrictions as issues that do not allow us to develop our creative abilities. When the opposite actually happens. The restrictions are opportunities that enrich the result of the process, which are the buildings.


We architects decided that architecture, being a branch of the fine arts, should start from genius and artistic freedom. From this point, the price that was decided to pay to be able to enjoy this freedom was irrelevance. The voice of architects is no longer required, not only in relation to the construction of cities, but also in relevant issues related to development, poverty or economic growth. Apparently, this turning point occurred between the 1960's and 1970's with postmodernism, where form ruled over function and aesthetic freedom ruled over logic.


When the architects who preferred artistic freedom, realized that it was outside the important issues of society, they decided to change relevance for impact. What many of today's architecture stars have sought during this time is to make an impact, even more so in a world where image and social networks predominate, this happens as a smoke screen to disguise what they really produce, It is irrelevant.


The challenge for the profession is no longer making objects; it is being able to work, and ask questions in a transversal way, where not only architecture is included, but other professions, and that has to do with marginalization, security and development, questions that take us out of the discussions with our own union and that get involved with government, economics, finance, social sciences… with the forces that can really transform people's lives through architecture and urbanism.


Architecture in the 21st century can no longer be based on the idea of having isolated buildings that are in cities, they must be tools that help the communities in which they exist. They have to weave urban and architectural relationships that produce a positive impact on the societies where they take place, this can help improve the economy and social relations and ecology through capital injections that occur at different scales of construction. That is why the work is key in the economies, since it can permeate in a transversal way all the economic sectors that intervene in it, from the poor sectors, to the local microeconomies.


An example of how a building can positively impact the place where it happens is Medellín. As part of the city's infrastructure and equipment programs in 2007, a series of Library Parks were built. The most successful of these in the Library Park of the Parque de España; located on a mountain and on the edge of 3 highly conflictive neighborhoods with strong gang clashes between them. The space managed to attract young people from the area, encouraging them to get to know each other and considerably reducing the levels of violence in the area. By the way, in the official description of the project, only the formal intention of the building to look like stones is mentioned, without the architect himself understanding the true intention of the project, without understanding the power that architecture has as a shortcut to break in some way social inequality and achieve equity in the city.


In the same way that Louis Kahn thought that a partition wanted to be more, today, those partitions that wanted to be a building now want to make that building something more, that they become better cities for each of their inhabitants. live in them, that manage to reduce social and economic gaps and that make better places to live. This is the power that architecture has.

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