Architecture has always been social.
As the legend goes, according to Vitruvius, the beginning of collective meeting and domesticity came about because of the discovery of fire—so he described the first act of building. One can speculate from this that the first assembly was not the construction of a personal, private dwelling, but a fire around which a community could grow, and from which the history of labor emerged. A constructed fire and a huddle of beings around it might demonstrate the first collaborative environment.
But what is often overlooked and erased across the many millennia between that first act of community building and the downtown towers, suburban office parks, and our own institutions that make up the creative/collaborative spatial landscape is that a good fire takes stoking. Community requires an ongoing engagement, both in the physical management of facilities and the collective stewarding of identity, relationships, and resources.
For this issue of Paprika!, we invited contributors to interrogate this as broadly as possible by starting with a basic etymological unit: CO—. Thanks to the landlords and corporate executives that have made ill-fated attempts to repackage and sublease our own collectivity back to us, CO— has become an empty prefix for superfluous buzzwords and amenities like rooftop yoga and synergistic thinking.
The included authors offer frameworks, precedents, and proposals for radical collectivity through an array of alternative tactics: spatial co-ownership, expanded communication, co-publishing platforms, shared commonalities, and more. In its design and organization, we explore this issue as a medium for extra-institutional community that we hope sustains an afterlife through new kinships and networks. At its origins, the fire is not just an event but a continuous process of maintenance and care.