Crucial Words as Context for Architecture
The following words are to be viewed as characters in a collective narrative whose story will unfold through the working of architectural research and projections. Like any play or novel, some characters are more central, and some only flirt with the driving theme, but all are crucial to the progression of the plot, to the progression of intention.
* Construction -> Constructive Deconstruction (definitely not deconstructivism a la Hadid, Gehry, Koolhaas, Libeskind, Eisenman etc..)
In a world requiring 150% its own volume to endure the current industrialized processes, adding more physical matter of any sort to the equation seems counter intuitive. As the fiscal systems often state, you can’t solve debt with more debt; as such can you really solve problems of the built environment with even more built environment? It’s time for the architect to use the existing fabric, to become skilled in the removal of the physical, in the actual sculpting of space and not the double negative notion of sculpting space as an additive process. The architect is to ultimately become versed in the manipulation of what is available; an analytical poet. Into what is removed then, can be placed built sustenance; systems of materials that breathe life into the old, that address energy and technology; a retro surgery of an ecological nature. Take Mies’ Brick Country Villa, inspired by the paintings of Piet Mondriaan, a leading figure in the de Stijl movement and central influence of the Bauhaus. It can be read as much as the dissolution of a more complicated plan as it can be read a minimal insertion of verticals and horizontals, which was his aim. Take Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West (1937), which appears to be abstractly inspired by the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky, a core member of the Bauhaus (1922 – 1933). Although they display an obvious evolution beyond the abstract simplicity of sole verticals and horizontals its geometries are still pure, and non-reducible. It’s plan too can be read as a dissolution of a more compact built system. A narrative of sequence between what is there, and what isn’t, or what is implied to be. Can sections of entire cities be treated in this way? Can inter related archipelagos begin to develop their own aesthetic? Can a system of defunct blocks be reduced to its core architectural principals and made open for opportunistic reimagining? It is time we begin to understand strategic design-removal. Existing below par entities, where par is a non-economic standard, can be seen as the framework for carbon parity. Could the city plan be reduced to horizontals and verticals, elements of our code thought of as being as abstractly close to nature as we can manifest? Can core built-identity be salvaged and reimagined? The first two industrial revolutions left us with more “construction” than we can hold. Current mass technological philosophies have proved themselves redundant. There is no philosophy. We are at supersaturation. Deconstruction is anti-form, anti-hierarchy, anti-structure ; the opposite of all that architecture currently stands for. * Recycling -> Pro-cycling
The prefix “re” is at fault here. It implies a revisiting of a past cycle, or a reuse of a past function. By nature it limits the object or system in question to strive for what it once was, in the past. Take your average car tyre. It is manufactured, it is used, it is suddenly unusable, it is broken down to its basic elements, treated, it is made what it once was; rinse and repeat. The same can be said for your average pubs intake and output of bottles, or almost any commodity. Although it is on the surface an efficient scheme, it is by nature flawed, by description, and therefore by design. We create materials with the view to harvesting them post-use to repeatedly serve the same task. Re-cycling has come to mean repeating a flawed narrative. That brief...
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