By Graham Livesey
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Additional resources for Passages: Explorations of the Contemporary City
In other cases the owner and/or designers argue for a deviation from the regulations and manage to convince the approving authorities to accept an atypical solution. There are always sites, even within the most conservative developments, that are anomalous in shape, location, or servicing and which deserve a suitable response. 9 There is the danger that anomaly becomes novelty, or an empty effort to be different just to be different. One important role of the artist or designer is to demonstrate to society alternative conditions and opportunities.
37 PASSAGES: EXPLORATIONS OF THE CONTEMPORARY CITY When an architect or urban designer is asked to design a project, usually by a client, the practical world of everyday action shapes, to one degree or another, the project that will emerge. Design takes place within a dense cultural context, or web of constraints, which determines methods of construction, uses of space, symbolic systems, economic parameters, and languages of architecture. For an architect this world is also shaped by already existing structures that define the site or context.
While the deviant has an operational logic and role, it can also be the target of prejudice, misunderstanding, or ideological opposition. One role for artists and designers in our society is that of the avant-garde experimenter; another is the provocateur. To reinforce the status quo has not been the task of leading artists or architects in Western society during the last century. There is also a role for the architect to challenge norms, to strive for a better situation, not to accept ready-made solutions.