Architecture is a social art, and has played a fundamental role in the evolution of human society. Through the ages, social, cultural and technological changes have impacted human life and influenced architecture. As a consequence of these changes, architecture has encountered paradoxes and paradigms at several junctures throughout its history. From natural cave shelters to built habitats, from mud to stone abodes, from brick to reinforced concrete structures, from indigenous buildings to those with foreign influences, from Industrial revolution to Post liberalization – architectural shifts have often had foundations in unorthodoxy, which subsequently evolved into accepted traditions. Such transitions were at times smooth (Gothic to Renaissance), at times turbulent (Neoclassical to Modernism), but what was consistent was the challenging of conventions, paving the way for new norms. The journey of documented history of architecture is full of such countless paradoxical moments when architects, through their radical works, established new paradigms. I.M. Pei's Louvre Pyramid is an excellent example of Paradox to Paradigm shift in architecture in the recent times.
Manuel Castells, way back in 1996, coined the term Network Society, a society where the key social structures and activities are organized around electronically processed information networks. The resultant Networking Logic has led to phenomenal transformations in the social and economic processes, radically changing many basic human operations such as working, shopping, communicating, designing, meeting, and several more. This transformation of the society is causing pivotal changes in architecture; resulting in the blurring of boundaries between virtual and real spaces and, radically changing the role of built spaces and the modes to generate them. Today as we stand at this juncture of information revolution and rise of Network Society, the architecture fraternity is once again posed with countless challenges about design philosophies, building typologies, design processes, materials, and technology of construction.
The conference theme as such neither endorses nor opposes this transformation in the society and architecture. Network Society is the harsh reality of today and the objective of the conference theme is to address this reality heads-on; to create a platform for contemplating on how architecture today is evolving in response to this reality of Network Society, and how we could shape the future of architecture through radical thinking – by generating paradoxes which could potentially evolve into paradigms.