Thursday, September 30, 2010


Historically, Architecture has been described, and by extension defined, by its meaningful form. A temple was recognizable as a "temple" both by its superficial form and the physical experience of its spaces. The design of a building's edifice, color, form, site, urban context, materiality, plan and spaces etc. were all deliberate attempts by the architect to communicate meaning to its users and the larger community in which it interacted.

Modernism has freed Architecture from the Ideology of Style. In doing so it has allowed contemporary culture to represent itself more specifically through uniquely expressive and diverse forms. But without a common typological or ornamental stylistic vocabulary, contemporary architects are reduced to using materiality, iconography and more fundamental formal-spatial gestures to invest meaning within buildings. However, this reliance of an underlying form takes more planning, skill and effort to use successfully than the historic formulaic decoration that quasi projected socio-functional type of "house", "bank", "office", "apartment building", etc, or the cultural function "threshold", "base", "ceiling", "roof", "etc". Contemporary Architects must now develop these on a per project, situational basis.

When combined with the current methods of Architectural production (design through construction) the resulting buildings have become progressively less meaningful. Consequently, I would argue that contemporary Architecture is at once both more rich and less "architectural" than buildings of earlier eras.

The Unnecessary

Architecture is messy. It is the turbulent balance of the useful and useless.

Monday, September 20, 2010


The question of what architecture elements (and their components) mean and how they function within a larger structure of building is a unique question that is quite different than the ephemeral questions of language and structure. Contrary to what architects would like to believe, Architecture is not a "language". The idea that it could be, that by adding up its parts and sign-like references, one could produce meaningful architecture, rationally, consistently like a good writer uses grammar is an conceptual abstraction. 

The fallacy of Architecture-as-sign (as opposed to Architecture-as-symbol) lies partially in the nature of meaning itself and partially in human experience. 
Somewhere within the study of a thing there must also be an equal effort to experience it.