CRIT 83: POLITIC brought a new curatorial lens to CRIT and selected for this issue’s theme the term “politic”, defined as “seeming sensible and judicious under the circumstances; prudent and sagacious”. We identified in this the notions of centering and balance, and from this a recognition that our culture and indeed our politics are increasingly polemicized. What part does design play in moderating this dynamic?

Designers work by choosing which narratives to express and which arguments to make, positioning us well to recognize the merits of many perspectives and select from them the ones that best meet the needs of the context. This objectivity breeds civility and nuance; in a world of growing polarity what we lack is the politic. Though rooted in the Greek notion of the polis – a city made up of people, each of whom had a voice worthy of being respected – our politics today seem rooted more in the Latin polus: the opposing ends of an axis. What does it mean to be an architect in this age? Are architectural practice and pedagogy adapting to a polarized world by becoming polarized themselves? Does work that stakes a claim deny the validity of every other perspective, or can it, instead, serve as an equalizing platform for all voices? What does an architecture of ideological equality look like?