ABSTRACT

We live in a fabricated world. Under human impact, the planet has been transformed to such a degree that geologists propose a new name for the age that begins with the Industrial Revolution: after the Pleistocene and the Holocene, the Anthropocene – a term coined by the winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Paul Crutzen – would be the third epoch of the Quaternary Period, characterized by the radical anthropic modification of the Earth’s crust.2 The actions of our species, which since the time of the Neolithic Revolution and the appearance of agriculture 8,000 years ago have been responsible for considerable alterations in ecosystems, have accelerated vertiginously in the past two centuries. Through the consumption of fossil fuels deposited over hundreds of millions of years, humanity has multiplied its capacity to shape the globe to satisfy the growing needs of an ever-expanding population. In doing so we have altered the carbon cycle in the same way that artificial fertilizers, without which the planet could not feed seven billion people, have radically modified the nitrogen cycle. Through great works of engineering, urban construction, mining, and agricultural exploitation, we are reshaping a world where already nearly everything is artificial. How could we possibly speak of architecture today without putting it in this context?