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.

No comments: