THE PROCESS Production of Space
THE PROCESS Production of Space Method of C omposition: A tentative sketch and a general introduction
by Adrian Labaut Hernandez
Adrian Labaut Hernandez
1Preface 3- Plan of the present work 5- What is to b e done 9- Teaching Archite cture 15S er vers of the past 21- Archite cture w ithout Archite cts 25- Archite cture of the limit 29- Metho d of C omp osition 33- Basic arguments 35- The Pro cess 39- Scale 41- Impression, Effect, Atmosphere 45- Essence 49- Components 51- Materials 54- Openings 55- Darkness 56- Quality of Sound 57- Bodyâ€™s movement 59- Ab out Sy mb olism and Meaning 63- The C ontext 65- Unity and Div ision 67- After word 69App endix: Final ly, I left my b e d
â€œBut cer tainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence... illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Nay, sacredness is held to be enhanced in propor tion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to the highest degree of sacrednessâ€? Feuerbach, Preface to the se cond edition of The Essence of C hristianity
The identification of the problems and the application of the solutions, what could be more architectural than that? The approximation of the society and the architecture, historically has been a process full of contradictions. Specially now the architects have been obtaining and increasing a power, economical and politically guided that satisfies their forbidden dreams. The creation of icons, housing systems, museums, are an ambivalent and eternal discussion between good and evil. The common people, outside of the architectonical circle are involved too, in an endless battle for understanding the reasons (out of megalomania) that impulse architects to do what they do sometimes. The biggest discussion is probably related with the fact that architecture, as process, doesnâ€™t take into considerations popular problems and contextual repercussions. The people seem more interested in listening to not so rigorous ecological, and social justifications, becoming the word sustainability almost a clichĂŠ that is continuously used by professionals with the only reason of having a moral shelve against the critic. But there is architecture created by the common society, the vernacular, simple and utilitarian. So, how to bring together these two ways of approaching architecture? Obviously a few architects appear to be very interested in the conditions and composition of some very good examples of vernacular constructions. But architects can not do everything, so the real issue is: it is there a way of approximating a basic architectural knowledge to every day people, that will lead them to understand, and to create their own buildings following some simple steps and their intuition? Certainly it is, and is a Manual, on Resisting aesthetics.
Plan of the present work.
This essay, poised between philosophy and architecture tries to present a theory of architecture and the city, or rather an ideal for the architecture, against the theories and ideals of managers, investors and some architects. To do so we should not look down at the city as if from a high-rise building, we must walk in it. This is probably a utopian essay, as it conceives an everyday understanding of architecture different from the official, in the same way that cinema is other to the real life experiences. This publication proposes a thesis and draws consequences from it. The thesis is: The events, procedures and results that constitute the architectonical world can have a common structure; there are elements that can be used in every creation but actually are missing or poorly used. It is proved that the idea of an existing method that contains unchanging, and absolutely binding principles for conducting the process of conceptualizing architecture meets considerable difficulty when confronted with the results of historical research. There are bases and knowledge, spatially and structurally, that are of course present through the history of the built environment, but there is not a common way of gestate the meaning of a project, from intellectual points of view. We find, then, that this reality has allowed the development of architecture through history as a very varied conglomeration of examples. Now, however, globalization, industrialization and the jump occurred in 2007, when the population living in the cities surpassed that one yet in the countryside put us face to face with a very different reality, architecture has become increasingly a very global process, and a new vernacular movement is growing in the new cities. This true enables us to take in account in wider range the architecture of the individual: without architects. It becomes evident that some violations to the profession of architecture, in the example of the new vernacular, are not accidental events, they are direct results of insufficient knowledge, inattention from public entities and of course, economical and political factors which might have been avoided. This liberal practice is both reasonable and absolutely necessary for the growth of knowledge. But there are circumstances, like the actual for example when it is advisable to introduce, elaborate, and defend hypotheses which contradict the existing reality and introduce new methods.
Plan of the present work.
The Design methods in architecture are commonly irrelevant, as are presented as a sort of catalog of elements to be chosen and connected in order to arrive to something, the case of this thesis moves in the opposite direction, is a base for understanding conceptualization in architecture, for the creation of objects full of substance, this is not a catalog and neither an intention of creating repeatable and understandable ‘beautiful’ buildings, as attempted by other authors. The profession of architecture has become increasingly globalized and always searching individuality that is mostly related with city marketing and corporate identity. Since the completion of the influential Guggenheim Museum by Frank Gehry in 1997, the profession has experienced important changes, and a stream of fashion styles in architecture have been growing. When speaking about design methods it is senseless to relate them with styles, even intend to oppose this two processes is useless. Instead the intention is to develop the understanding of the ‘essence’ in architecture. Not speaking about context, community or sustainability, innovative and progressive ideologies, communication with its cultural and environmental context, capability to enrich cultural human life, or good design in general. All of those are subjective nonsenses. In opposition to what so many authors try to convey about: guides for design, plans, facades, components of design (line, surface), laws of gestalt, visual effects, harmonic qualities, computerized methods or understanding “good” or “memorable” architectural projects, etc. A method that tries to combine all of those elements is, from zero, useless. The beauty of organization and investigation is another way of approaching the discipline.
“Investigation is architecture”
What is to b e done. Meaning in Architecture
What kind of machine could be adequate to the present? Lest commence by mentioning here the words and terms that have become for Lebbeus Woods and are, in effect, dead. For their increasing and indiscriminate use and misinterpretation. Radical – New – Original – Principles – Progress – Critical – Experimental – Housing – Genius – Future Some new can be added, and others that are not here: Context – Communication – Manifesto – People – Icons - Architecture Architects are forced to be extravagant if they don’t want to, or don’t need to. Ambitions have radically changed through the forces of market economies. Architecture has betrayed the ‘body’; it has actively participated in the great process of metamorphosis that has abandoned the body; and it has denied the body. The living body, being at once ‘subject’ and ‘object’, cannot tolerate such division and consequently architectural concepts fall into the category of the ‘signs of non-body’. Under the reign of Superficiality and Spectacle, the reign of true space, the mental and the social were suppressed. New attempts are everywhere being made to reduce the complexity, when it should be the opposite, we must try to reduce the external to the internal, the social to the mental by means of one ingenious typology. There are some conveying this idea. -Net result? Complete failure! Abstract spatiality and practical spatiality contemplate one another from afar. Today the body without matter has established himself firmly, as base and foundation, beyond philosophy, beyond discourse, and beyond theory. All the objects that are created are consciously dead. To say that the discipline of Architecture is going now, ‘beyond discourse’ means that it takes into account, for the purpose of creating projects, themes that are not necessary linked to
What is to be done. Meaning in Architecture
architecture, and those inherently related with the profession are slowly and endlessly forgotten. This store of no-knowledge constitutes a potential threat to the discipline. Superficiality is the obvious consequence of this situation, lightness is assuming an increasingly important role in supposedly modern societies, and if its role is not already preponderant it very soon will be. Superficiality’s hegemony does nor operate solely on the micro level, affecting for instance, neighbourhood scales; nor does it apply only on the ‘macro’ level, as responsible for the ordering of processes within nations or continents. On the contrary, its effects may be observed on all planes and in all interconnections between them, on all theoretical observations of the discipline. Architects and their clients do not want to address iconography, a very important subject in the past. Modernism has led to an iconographic deficit and to the dominance of the aesthetic and technical sign. The fear of looking kitsch, tasteless or too subjective is showing now, in the present time, as a disturbing neutrality, a lack of responsibility in which the architect often runs away from the important subjects. This neutrality and lack of compromise is very important in the understanding of the actual architectural and creative crisis. A new wave conceptually and practically speaking has appeared, the rhetoric has shifted away from the substances as a goal, leaving space for a more ‘functional’, ‘legere’ and understandable logic. Architects prefer to ‘sell’ the projects to their clients based on what the clients and the public want to see, or will understand as politically and morally correct. Exaggerated renderings, great schemes of circulation and energy consumption, communication, better use of materials and productivity, sustainability, correct facades. The whole profession of creation has become, and is increasingly developing into a superficial matter. The image sells, not anymore the concept, meaning, metaphor, the aesthetics of the projects come after long computerized analysis of shape, structure and function, data. This situation is the very heart of society’s unreality. The projects created, we should agree, are tremendously similar, one of the probable useful expressions here will be the one of ‘Light Architecture’. Things
What is to be done. Meaning in Architecture
are not created to last, but to impress like as part of a new pop culture, where the similarity of these personal objects unify them, into a popular revolution of the “I”. The whole life of our societies in which modern conditions of production prevail presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles that appear at once as society itself, as a part of society and as a means of unification. This situation is merely created by a social relationship between people that is mediated by images, too many of them. All that once was directly lived has become mere representation. The problem with this turn of facts is that it is related with all the branches of art; music, cinema and poetry cannot scape from it, not even the teaching of the professions. There is a new group of architects that have been, basically, changing the way in which the discipline was conceived primarily, that’s the case, for example of Bjarke Ingels, Joshua Prince Ramus, among others. Their projects are merely simple diagrams, that cannot be explored, because nothing is there but image and simplified processes. They are a mixture of extreme functionality, economy, sustainability and of course, human factors. All of these architects and their projects are a manifest of this society of positivity, in which basically: Everything that looks good is good, and whatever that is good will look good. With an attitude of very passive and proved acceptance. Ingels, looks like, is trying to show that architecture is actually a very simple profession, and that anybody, as it appears, can do a logic project. An approach totally contraire to the roots of the profession. The dangerous part of this new wave is that is extremely easy to copy, repeat and assume, it is very simple to understand this process when visiting an architectural exhibition or a presentation of projects by students. It became already a frustrating issue. The strength of a project is not anymore its essence, its conceptualization, the long row of steps that the designer had to follow in order to find an unique solution for a problem that can be addressed in infinite ways. Contrary of this, the project gains in strength when it is ‘cheap’, even thou it is not, when it directly addresses problems related to the community, mostly extremely simple and naïve, when faces also topics as sustainability, ecology, extra simplification and recyclability. The reality erupts within this spectacle, so the spectacle becomes real and proclaims the predominance of appearances and asserts that all human
What is to be done. Meaning in Architecture
life is at the end, a mere appearance. Professors, jury of competitions, public, all of them face a situation in which mostly, the ‘best’ work will be the one that touches the heart and eyes of the crowd when playing with their weaknesses. It is very easy to illustrate with real cases, one of the more obvious is the case of the internationally renowned competition “Velux” that encourage students of architecture to explore and understand the theme of daylight by applying it in their proposals. There are some interesting proposals always in this kind of competitions, mostly not reasoned by the jury because are not ‘shocking’ to the eye. The case of the edition of the year 2014 is specially interesting, in this one, the team winner of the second position addressed an issue that is totally non architectural, and the project itself doesn’t justify the position in the competition, the topic was related to the creation of an artificial cloud, and conceptualized with the possibility of the Korean boundary disappearance. It is a very disturbing situation, that is obviously moving students and professionals to search for moral and political basis when creating a project, and adding in this way a strong tie with sentiments that for sure will be taken in account by the jury. And the question that raises this situation is the following: Are there ‘serious’ competitions in which a ‘good’ architecture project will survive until the last stages without moral and political bonds? In this moment the answer for that question will be mostly no. Young architects and students seem afraid of getting too involved in the conceptualization and densification of any creation, being afraid even in the utilization of curves in the design, that can be interpreted as a sign of lack of taste, is for all of that, plus the similarity of the programs used for creating architecture, that we are in presence of this movement, in which everything is different, but everything is the same simultaneously. So, at this point, what is needed to be done? Do we have a new group of materials that will allow us to create a new manifesto of architecture, like Le Corbusier did in a moment?
“If you could learn things in either of two ways –either through the medium of names, and that ever so well, or through the things themselves –which is likely to be the nobler or clearer way : to learn of the image of truth whether the image is fair y imitated and to know the truth which is expressed in the image, or of the truth to learn the ver y truth, and to know whether the image is rightly executed? ” The Dialogues of Plato
The big problem wit the art and architecture education is that professors need to be extremely well prepared, and who can guarantee that? The process in the understanding and interiorizing the phenomenon that architecture and art means should star from very abstract levels. From diagrams and models for recognizing different kinds of compositions and spaces to observe and (if thatâ€™s possible) visiting enormous amounts of buildings in order to create a personal repertoire that will be very helpful for the rest of the life of the student. The profession of architecture, in all its spheres, that is to say teaching, analysis and building is very damaged by this society of spectacle, the problem with this virus is that is very effective always and is never perceptible to the naked eye, even if that eye is assisted by the ear, it is immune from human activity and inaccessible to any review or correction. At the end the education of architecture is also in danger of turning itself into a universe of speculation. Like the process of growing of any artist that passes through the listening of rock music, in all its genres, to alternative and jazz, and like this expanding the horizons of the young, understanding art is very similar. For students, over all those in the first years the greatest ways of learning are through the works of the constructivist architects, the deconstructivists, and some examples that can be: Koolhaas, MVRDV, Eisenman and the firs works of Z. Hadid, just to mention some of them. The works of these architects are easily understandable after analyzing them carefully and are completely didactical. It is very dangerous to meet professors who express openly their dislike for some kinds of architects, limiting in that way the development of young students. In the first phases of maturation of the future architect, it is very important, overall, to commence perceiving the territory, the space: its connections, depths and character; and after all, the rest of variables which convert it in memorable, the openings (Steven Holl), the presence and textures (Aldo Rossi), among an infinite list of elements that can be used. When professors, often dictate the uselessness of one architect or the other, the student forces himself to choose another way, this mostly happens because the students is not prepared enough to discuss an opinion that he doesnâ€™t know if supporting or hating, there will be not many students who are strongly able to use as reference Louis Kahn when the professor proclaims that the only and best way of creating something is based on parametric methods, in this case the
student will have no choice but defending this opinion and taking as reference for his works architects like Greg Lynn, Diller Scofidio, among others. Universities are failing to give future architects the necessary education to face all kind of future challenges. First, the abstract, basic introduction to shapes and spaces, that includes enormous amounts of photographs and models. Then the basic fundaments on structure and stability, that mostly are a matter of personal perception. And after comes a group of other element that are anyway important to understand, as the hard used topic of environment and ecology, now facing the ever lasting global warming. The interesting aspect of this part is that ecology, and friendly design are a matter of intuition, and not necessary of creating green walls and roofs, solar panels and local materials. There is a great confusion when understanding this topic, and the greatest part of architects and of course students cannot scape from interpreting this issue as a superficial process, that will be solved creating gardens in balconies and wooden French windows for tropical weather conditions. For some architects and professionals of other kinds, global warming as well as poverty, immigration, isolation, are topics to be analyzed from a single posture, the one of the community helper, the one that will create gardens, turbines and low energy consumption methods, this is part of the way of solving the problem, but a small one, the architect, since its time as student, have to be prepared in order to develop a logical way of thinking, based on the knowledge of all kinds of projects and logics, it is a real issue in the architectural world today, when ‘ecological’ and ‘radical’ architects are divided. There are no such ecological or environmental architects, well prepared professionals will know how to deal with a problem from any point of view, Steven Holl as good as Alejandro Aravena, Peter Eisenman as well as Shigeru Ban. Sustainability, as Baeza expressed in some moment, is a stupid word, not for what it means, but for the use that architects and other professionals give to it. Until some point sustainability divides the profession between evil and right, good and bad, community and individuality at the same time that the spectacle divides the world from its core, the abstract nature of all individual work finds perfect expression in the spectacle, whose very manner of being concrete is precisely by being always the same. It divides the discipline into two parts, one of which is held up as a self-representation of the discipline, that is actually superior to it.
The science of spectacle is the common language that bridges this division, as architects and spectators are linked only by a one-way relationship to the center of the profession and that maintains their isolation from one another. The more we contemplate, the less we live, the more we recognize our own nature in the images proposed by the architects of the spectacle, the less we understand our own existence and our own desires. The externality of this process carried out by many architects –some of them mentioned- is demonstrated by the fact that the individual’s own gestures are no longer his own, but rather those of someone else who represents them to him. The spectator feels at home nowhere, but the spectacle is everywhere. In the education field, all these issues are doubly strong, as the student gets used to the fact that in some part of his project, he will need to address the problem of sustainability, as it will, at least, justify a passing grade. Those interests, forces, propaganda and brainwashing techniques play a much greater role than is commonly believed in the growth of our knowledge and in the growth of science, can also be seen from an analysis of the relation between idea and action. But the problems related with the student’s education move further than that, and mostly, to very simple and totally accepted positions. One of the most ineffective points is, as usual related with the professor, but this time with the generic intrusion in the development of an assignment. Always, at the beginnings of a task, the strategy of the educator is to propitiate the advanced basis for the whole development of it. In general terms, it is regulated the scale of the model and drawings to be presented, the minimum amount of sheets for a decent presentation, and the most ridiculous rule of them all, the imposition of the destructive layout. The traditional role of the teacher, who has knowledge that he conveys to people who don’t have that knowledge, needs to be drastically revised. It is a mistake, that affects the roots of the profession and an enormous misunderstanding of the role of the lecturer. It is at least impossible to suppose that the future proposal of the student will have something to see with the structure the professor proposes at first. This rule is mostly related, even if not yet understood like that, with fancy reasons: a beautiful presentation in a classroom filled with a big amount of sheets, all of them of the same size, and at
least a very â€˜charmingâ€™ rendering for each group of students, what could be more marvelous than observing this waterfall of ideas, all the same. The role of the professor is related with the reinforcement of the student development following its own instincts, and so, the scholar should arrive to the end of his proposal with a very personal scenario, deciding by himself whether he will use ten A2 or one A3, and a model with scale 1:20 or 1:200. That would be a great refreshment, a presentation full of individuals, correctly conceptualized and justified, and far from moral, economical, political or widely accepted ideas. Is in the position of the student visualize a more or less efficient proposal. A step by step process could be realized in order of achieving this kind of result, starting from the very basis and assuming a totally open posture. It is important to know and to justify clearly the quality of things, normally it is very easy to hide behind the definition of the subjectivity of art, but in some moments it is very healthy to acclaim something as it is obviously better than something else. Students and architects should simply be empowered with knowledge and skills all the time. The situation is that in the actual context, the students become less and less intellectually active and more and more contemplative.
S er vers of the Past
â€œ There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.â€? Osc ar Wilde
S er vers of the Past
Architecture has always been a profession extremely linked to the highest institutions of social control and an expression of course, of power. There are some classic examples that show clearly the interest and proximity that architects through history, likely tried to achieve by serving to the empowered system. One of them is the case of the architect of Alexander the Great, Dinocrates, who, for Vitruvius is the only surviving architectural treatise from Antiquity, able to impress Alexander by wearing extravagant clothes and after showing him plans to sculpt in the flank of Mount Athos a colossal image of the emperor, holding a small city in one hand and pouring from a gigantic pitcher a river into the sea with the other. The other classic case is the Jewish Soviet architect Boris Iofan, with his proposal for the Palace of Soviets in 1931, a mimetic response to the Soviet interests, and a very productive attempt of earning the favor of the power. Le Corbusier writing to Viktor Vesnin, a leading Russian Constructivist, was in denial: “It is hard to accept the fact that they will actually erect that odd thing which recently has flooded all of the journals.” To this is strongly related the fact that in architectural competitions, projects and prizes, it is very common to see what is justifiable as politically and morally correct. One of the greatest events that summarized a cynical view to this paradigm is the 14 Biennale of architecture by Koolhaas, where Rem changed the shift of events by predicting what’s going to happen in the next five years, as we are totally obsessed with predicting steps of development, and shows the elements that in base represent the roots of architecture. The presence of the past, that is going to the past, and the past of the present, is what this show is about. Rem summarized 5000 years of architecture evolution through 15 elements of architecture, trying to visualize where are they going. But we need to understand that the evolution of these components is discontinuous with the others, and some of them have disappeared, like the fireplace. One of the single most important shifts that Rem showed with this biennale, is that research can be creative. The use and re-use of the past is a common process in which we are daily involved. We have overcome certain periods and tendencies, from monumentality, decorativeness, rationality and ‘beauty’, but all
S er vers of the Past
of a sudden, the perceptible world has been replaced by a set of images that are superior to that world and yet at the same time impose themselves as eminently perceptible. The abstract, experimental and intellectually profound has become a rareness, as we see enjoy the constructivist period now for example, like a flame extinguished long ago, that existed but it didn’t at the same time. It is very difficult for architect now to escape from the needs of being published and famous, as Libeskind said in some conference: “Everybody wants to be famous”. Due to this process of extreme globalization of taste and acceptance of what is good because is beautiful, some interesting architects are behind a fog -that one that divides the spectacle from the essence-. The intellectually advanced professionals are often in the brink of becoming part of the society of spectacle, because it is almost impossible to scape from it. Then, the individual who in the service of the spectacle is placed in stardom’s spotlight is in fact the opposite of an individual, and as clearly the enemy of the individual in himself as of the individual in others. In entering the spectacle as a model to be identified with, he renounces all autonomy in order himself to identify with the general law of obedience to the course of things. Stars of consumption, stars of decision; all official differences between them are thus canceled out by the official similarity which is an inescapable implication of their supposed excellence in every range of architecture. The admirable people who personify the system are indeed well known for not being what they seem to be; they have achieved greatness by embracing a level of reality lower than that of the most insignificant individual life and everyone knows it. Architecture has become, due to the technologies and trending fashions, easily reproducible. Objects are endlessly copied and repeated, replicas of what is intended to be good are made by pupils all the time, as by master in order to disseminating their work in the media, with the objective at the end in pursuit of profit. This reproduction of architecture is something new, having appeared intermittently in history, is now being adopted with ever increasing intensity. The enormous changes brought about in literature by movable type, the technological reproduction of writing are well known, but they are an special case, though an important one, the phenomenon considered here from the perspective of reproduction of architecture has other consequences, not necessary so positive.
S er vers of the Past
The problem with reproduction is that one thing is lacking â€“the here and now of architecture- its unique existence in a particular place. It is this unique existence-and nothing else-that bears the mark of the history and particular intention to which the work has been subject. The here and now of the project underlines the concept of its authenticity. The whole sphere of authenticity elides all kind of reproduction. But whereas the authentic work retains its full authority in the face of all the reproductions that come after, this is not the case when the reproduction is almost unconscious, as it happens now, in the hands of computational technologies. The reason is twofold: -First, reproduction based on technological programs of modelling is more independent than any kind of reproduction, for example, in photography there are aspects that are only accessible to the lens. -The second reason, this method of creation is totally international, and the globalization in terms of commercialization of images has created a strong trend in fashion comparable to the one related with clothes industry.
S er vers of the Past
-‘We must try to get rid of it,’- Biark now said decisively to the crowd! -‘it is killing you all, I see it coming. When people have to work as hard as we all do, they can not also tolerate this endless torment in the city. I just can’t go on any more’- And he broke out into such a crying fit that his tears flowed out down onto the crowd. He wiped as some Homer’s heroes did. -‘Child,’- said Boris sympathetically and with obvious appreciation, -‘then what should we do?’“Biark only shrugged his shoulders as a sign of the perplexity which, in contrast to his previous confidence, had come over him while he was crying.” -‘If only he understood us,’- said Boris in a semi questioning tone. Biark, in the midst of his sobbing, shook his hand energetically as a sign that there was no point thinking of that. -‘If he only understood us,’- repeated Boris and by shutting his eyes he absorbed the man’s conviction of the impossibility of this point, -‘then perhaps some compromise would be possible with him. But as it is ...’-‘It must be gotten rid of,’- cried Biark; -‘That is the only way, people. You must try to get rid of the idea that this is good for us. The fact that we have believed for so long, that is truly our real misfortune. But how can it be good? If it was Good, he would have long ago realized that a communal life among human beings is not possible with such an animal and would have gone away voluntarily. Then we would not have a brother, but we could go on living and honor this city. But this animal plagues us. It drives away the lodgers, will obviously take over the entire country, and leave us to spend the night in the alley. Just look, my friends, ‘he’s there, watching us.’It happened suddenly, as L. Bess awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed into a gigantic insect.
Architecture without Architects
Honest architecture does not follow the tendencies of fashion, is direct and unique, as its goal is the perfection in use. Durability and versatility. Housing over pilotis, huts, stalls, wooden structures, all of them created in some moments by nonprofessionals, with the only finality of being useful and long lasting. The riches quality of this approach to the profession, is the honestly and substance of each project, some of them can be considered masterpieces due to their final result, and of undeniable intellectual superiority in comparison with actual architectures. It is obvious that in actual conditions, a method of composition, in this case architectural, is very needed. The city is a very complex organism, and the individual actions needs to guarantee the collective success of the operation, the architecture without architects, developed by individuals or groups not related with the profession is still important. Understanding the difficulties that exist when applying this kind of process in very different contexts, realizing that the main situation is related with problems of economy and marginality, as is no the same conceptualizing popular projects not in a forest or in a rural field, but in a very dense urban grid, with all the responsibilities and traces it can leave. The architecture project should move between the community and the extreme individualism. It is very important to understand that the people is able to express whatever is they want without perturbing the community. Architects cannot, and donâ€™t do everything, and the process of creating anything can be developed, without any difficulty by intuition, when following some basic rules.
ARCHITECTURE = CONSTRUCTION
Architecture without Architects
We are speaking here about a very wide range of operations in which richness, diversity, reflection and utopia meet and combine in compatibility, a process in which the architectural object will be visualized as an object of daily use, created without pre-stablished ideas of image, economy or fashion. The new is not the element to reach anymore, because each action will be specific and corrects or alter the previous situation. The individual here has the role of client, creator and promoter of his own space. Renaissance of the Vernacular, under some terms. The problem that architecture represents start, or at least it should, with a content. This is a fundamental idea; the project has to be able to show something. The point here is that we are not speaking about faĂ§ade, rendered image or about plans of functioning and economization, and then comes the idea of what is really needed. The architecture developed by non architects, normally represents the essence of the required elements. There are numerous examples of great projects created by non pedigreed individuals in different cultures, that we can call vernacular, spontaneous or exotic. There is a very interesting proposition, to provide in some way, a generic plan of action that could guide everybody in the process of creating anything, lets call it for now: A method of composition, and see what the people can do with it. The content of this non supervised architecture has been considered accidental for long time, but some of them are actually a result of an special sense of taste and the solving of practical problems. There technics, transmitted through several generations are undeniably valid. So it is important to incorporate the â€œhumanâ€? component of this architecture in any scale or program. -Architecture without architects is basically a redemption from certain useless justifications and concepts that fill the present. The liberation from fashion, and the liberation at the same time of the architects themselves who want to act like stars in a show, finding the way of getting into the circle where super projects are guaranteed, and the only way of getting in there is by creating shiny objects, and attempting to get noticed by doing so in great events, like the Ground Zero competition for example.
Architecture without Architects
So at this point, we are speaking about a counter-wave, a return to the substantial qualities of architecture, and an opposition against the simplification and trivialization of it. The process of creation will end up with a body of matter filled with meaning. The next building, infrastructural proposal, housing, will represent the roots of architecture, but using elements unknown by non architects. There will be no more senseless pastiches added in order to satisfy absurd reasons like: break the rigidity of the façade, give more dynamism to the project, create rhythm or equilibrium in the composition. We are speaking about architecture full of sense. This is a process that doesn’t need to be realized simply in small scales like low budget housing or small pavilions. Architecture without architects offers a manual of composition, justification and conceptualization that can be used even by the architects themselves. It will provide support to the professionals to get over the first stages of the project, those that will define the full quality of it. The question that arises now is: it is possible to create a ‘Manual’ of architecture? Not speaking about standards like the Neufert or the Panero, neither about the “Design methods” of John Christopher Jones, but a non illustrative manual, able to explore the basics and the intellect. A program that explains step by step the necessary considerations to take in account in order to create a complete meaningful project, and not simply used by the common people without access to architectural education but also used by architects, students, professors. Well of course it is possible, and that’s what this is about.
Architecture of the Limit
Architecture, cinema, poetry or literature are, as all arts, embracing bodies, that reflect the surrounding context with all its political, economical and cultural components. Architecture particularly is a mirror of its time and social conditions. The actual situation is very relevant in the process of understanding the situation and future of the discipline. The profession has become utterly manipulative and manipulatable. and this condition is particularly related with the ruling conditions. We live in a very flat digital world in which everything is accessible. The globalization as rule has increased the links among all kinds of processes and media, and architecture doesn’t escape from this. It is completely susceptible to the market and the politic conditions and assumes them with normality. The phenomenon that is taking part in societies like the Chinese and The Arab Emirates illustrates this theory. The modernism has arrived lately to those places that are now passing through a movement of modernization in which the image of the icon is remarkably important and national identity has been sacrificed to modernity. In this context, architects are increasingly immersed in answering to questions that go further from those of the discipline historically speaking. That’s why it is important to establish a limit of action of architects and professionals of other orders, even thou it may sound as a totally naïve proposal, in part because economically speaking architecture is not an independent entity. We can ask one more question: What else should concern architects? Historically, when all started in France in the XVII Century, the Academie Royale d’Architecture had the propose of training architects to build the buildings of the state, and all the rest was constructed by builders, so the role of architecture was to represent the public institutions of the government. The situation has changed with the apparition of new economical systems, and capitalism has been triumphant. The investors build anything basically to profit from, they are not really interested in buildings, nor in aesthetics and even less in meaning, concept, substance.
Architecture of the Limit
A crucial example of this situation can be completely seen in Havana, Cuba, a city frozen in time due to political and economical reasons. Now, with the diplomatic tensions eased between the U.S and Cuba for the first time in nearly half a century, investors are eager to build in the untouched exotic locale formulating the question: Is Cuba the next emerging market? This process has already started, and some foreign investors are already buying properties in all locations, reasonably cheap, and building in them any sort of projects, mostly creating restaurants, rooms for rent and cafes. This case illustrates the misunderstanding of the profession by the investors as by architects themselves. The shareholder is absolutely not interested in the project values, is a totally superficial practice, the goal is to profit from it, whatever it is, thatâ€™s why, some young architects in Cuba, in a very surreal twist of events are facing the petition, what do you suggest to build here? when is already known that the future project will not have any other value that the incomes it will ensure. It is very normal to see quite a lot of projects already in execution, mostly all of them of dubious quality, as architects themselves (definitely not well prepared) are following the character of the events, and basically producing with a poor background, small pieces of something that has not other goal but to be loved, over all for the investor, that for sure will be very happy with anything with shining lights and infinite pools. We are facing a process in which architects see themselves surpassing the classical limits of their profession, and sadly with very bad results. It is possible to observe visible discrepancies between serious, prepared professionals and the rest. Normally it is much more productive to maintain a position in which the qualified will try to create, converting anything into personal master piece, but it is almost impossible to convey in a common conclusion as investors and not prepared professionals are not able to differentiate between shapes full of sense and meaning, that enrich and honor the profession and those volumes that do not contribute to the critical nature of the discipline.
Architecture of the Limit
Investors and others characters that use architecture but donâ€™t create it themselves put, upon the architect the false choice offered by the spectacular abundance of kitsch, based on juxtaposition, on one hand, of mutually reinforcing the spectacle itself in any way it will be possible, and on the other hand, of roles for the most part embodied in objects that are at once exclusive and interconnected. This evolves into a contest among inexistent qualities meant to elicit devotion and excitement to quantitative triviality. The never-ending succession of contests to show this concentration of phantoms is utterly incapable of developing any truly honest strategy.
Metho d of C omp osition
It is really possible that nobody seems to know the real meaning and intention of architecture and at the same time there are a huge amount of divergent opinions from all kind of perspectives? It is a very complex phenomenon. There is a wide range of methods and processes, books and publications all full of contradictions and misunderstandings that are better not to apply and rely on. There is a usual mode of creating any composition, not speaking here about steps or catalogues of choices to link and combine. Nor the idea of checking a specific chapter depending on the kind of project, context, or program. The method here mentioned is totally conceptual, where the core and the goal is to enrich the discipline. Methods can be philosophical or fashionable, creation or copy. For the good or the bad of the profession mostly, the designs realized with methods end up with senseless copies and empty creations. It is important to understand some very interesting features about design and composition through history and different geographies. The modernist architecture -a classic and influent example and yet survivor- is of course, very conditioned by proportions, as it was the case of classical architecture, and it has been a constant proof of the continuity of architecture, limited by certain aspects as usefulness, gravity, resistance. Proportions are important for achieving ‘pleasant’ images and ‘comfortable’ spaces sometimes, but the real experience is very different. We are affected by this reality even without even thinking about it, and it is a very refreshing discovery. In the Japanese traditional architecture, for example, the notion of proportions comes second, what is more important is the design of the roof. That’s why so many examples of this architecture look very similar when observed in pictures, but this experience changes totally when visiting it. If an architect can create a beautiful roof, and also a beautiful shadow under it, then proportions cannot be a big issue. The shadow can control everything, and typically design starts from the roof. Obviously it is important to observe innumerable photographs and to visit important architectures in order to create the proper mental repertoire. Beware that you do pay a personal price and stand on the shoulders of previous generations. You need a discourse to change architecture and that’s often nor reached by following somebody else’s rules.
Method of C omposition
Rem Koolhaas, alluding to the beginning of his biennale of architecture, started his official statement with â€œArchitecture, not architects,â€? miming the precept put forth in Bernard Rudolfskyâ€™s seminal 1964 work, Architecture Without Architects: A Short Introduction to Non-Pedigreed Architecture. This investigation of the fundamentals, illustrates the roots in their more graphical way. The intention of this writing is to define a pattern of integration of this statement that is once cultural and individual. Grouping these connections, that are without any doubt indissoluble, though obscured by modern ambitions of relate them with factors that are not associated with architecture, and should not by any reason. Between the spirit and the body, between the object and the ground. If there is a way of combining these connections, as I believe, then it is possible to preserve qualities that cannot be seen, or measured, or characterized as beautiful, nice, or ugly. There are connections that we do not recognize yet as fundamentals. Nothing is more clear that every project must be elaborated to its culmination before anything be attempted with the pen. It is only with the culmination constantly in view that we can give a project its indispensable air of importance, or meaning, by making the components, combinations, and especially the atmosphere at all points, tend to the development of the intention. There is a radical error, I think, in the usual mode of constructing a design, either knowledge guides us to a thesis- or one is suggested by submerging oneself in concepts and theories- or, at best, the author sets himself to work in the combination of striking concepts to form merely the basis of his design, generally, to fill in with conception, theory, basic rules, whatever that will, as a whole render apparent the intention. In this case, lets commence with the consideration of an effect. Probably a topic not always considered is keeping originality always in view, but not originality of shapes, colors or combinations of trees and patterns. Originality in its inner essence, we are trying here to understand and redefine the basic elements of a project, and those that render it inexplicable or with high abstract levels. It is totally false to ventures oneself to a new commitment without trying to reach not explored areas.
Method of C omposition
In the first place: of the innumerable effects, or impressions of which the heart and the intellect are susceptible, what one shall I, on the present occasion, select?” Atmosphere and essence. Having chosen and having clear the vivid effect of the creation, it is necessary to consider whether it can be best wrought by user experience or by analysis, or in the best of cases, not one or the other but both together.
“He who interrupts his study to say, ‘How beautiful is this tree,’ deserves death.” — Talmud Franz Kafka
But before getting into the steps that will condition the good development of the project, lets analyze, for example, the key elements that will rule the process from the very beginning:
1-Architecture is a process without oppositions and consultations. The birth and progress of the proposal should be developed personally, or as it is common in team work, but always with one principal that will decide what is to be done and what not, having always the last word in every decision. The idea of assuming that a commission or cooperative will decide through a process of interchange and discussion it totally absurd, and supposes a unnecessary contamination and disturbance in achieving the complete solution. 2-Architecture grows from competition and to be a great architect you need to be egocentric and narcissistic. This is a very important and real affirmation. Even thou for some it may sound very arrogant, the truth is that architecture is a very personal discipline, that grows from concourses and individual capacities. The process of competition is extremely important for the business as each professional tries to defeat all the opponents by proposing what they may recall as more intelligent solutions under different perspectives. 3-Each Architecture project needs to contribute to the critical nature of the discipline, and expand it through its value. There is a clear difference between the buildings that stand like empty boxes following styles and conventions and those which challenge the ruling standards. Architecture requires the displacement of conventions. Any great work, whether it is film, music or literature, is by its own nature critical. Creation in general does not repeat what is there, and architecture needs to discuss matter, representation methods and philosophical and spatial relationships all the time.
4-Architecture should not just be something that follows up on events but be a leader of events. This idea specifically is related with all the opinions explained before, when questioning realities and challenging methods and concepts, the discipline is actually creating a background for a new group of interpretations and manifestations in all kinds of art. Architecture has the capacity of acting as a didactical tool in the different levels of the profession. Neighborhoods, cities, universities and for professionals. 5- The process of creation should never be guided by political or moral terms. This topic specifically was discussed in the chapter related with the limits of architecture, and it is immensely important. Of course the architect is conditioned by some very important conditions, as they are technological possibilities, financing-budget, specific regulations, client and program. But all of them are almost physical limitations. In the present time we are already used to the fact that the architecture profession should answer to some high spectators that are actually not interested in the discipline itself, politicians, shareholders, investors, moral fighters. The truth is, as mentioned before, the process of creating, at least in the first stages of conceptualization and defense should be free from those obstacles, focusing the architect in nothing else but in the creation of personal masterpieces, not in the spectacular sense of the word but in the letâ€™s say â€œatmosphericâ€™ and critical sense. 6-Make contributions to theory and practice at the same time. Not simply trying to achieve the conceptual and intellectual levels that will question the history of construction, architecture should bring precise experiences constructively speaking, and after the completion of the project, in terms of scale, materials, effects, darkness and light, movement, sum of different ideas materialized.
The Pro cess
The whole procedure of composition will be realized by following a series of steps, not necessary respected rigidly, but more like a helpful agenda. The idea of dividing the process in these stages is to increase the potentials of its conceptual growing. Basically the whole development of the work takes part in to different steps. The first one is completely conceptual, inspirational and abstract, here the goal is to develop the basic ‘spiritual’ basis for the rest of the experience; the other step is the one that will end up with the materialization or simple visualization of the project, in this one the work is mostly intellectual, analytical and concrete. The most difficult part is the beginning. It is important to argue that the greater inspiration can be reached through the use of non architectural publications, buildings or objects at all. Literature, for example is one of the greatest sources available, as well as music and theater for example. Of course, all these sources are related with the creation of a very personal background of images, atmospheres and actions that will be useful later for all the processes of composing anything, it is about understanding a wide range of experiences that otherwise would be lost. The method of composition itself include different stage that are represented as follow: 1-Information interpretation and analysis. This part is related with the identification of the program, characteristics of the site and all the different sources of information that can expand the general understanding of the site as well as the programmatic relations that will end up with a personal interpretation of the task and the response. 2-Intellectual processes. This is the principal subject of this writing. ‘The process’ is basically the agenda for understanding and exploding this area of the discipline, as it is the most important. Later the discussion will be around the material qualities of the structure, equally interesting as it is always linked with the conceptualization, and after about its structure, but the last area will be solved without bigger inconvenient. 3-Evaluation of the proposal and economical facts. (not important)
It would be very interesting to read an essay written by an architect who would –that is to say, who could- detail step by step the processes by which any one of his projects attained its ultimate point of complexion. Why such a paper has never been given to the world, I cannot say, but perhaps, the authorial vanity has had more to do with the omission that any one other cause. Of course, it is very common to observe different kinds of explanations about the creative and intellectual process that sustains and define specifically the ‘style’ and formal identity of the creators, mostly summarized by the usual ‘brainstorming process’, a very vague affirmation. Some architects prefer having it understood that they create by a specie of fine frenzy intuition, others through public discussions with partners and the community, and others based on programmatic or hard intellectual logics. I am a little suspicious about the process of creating, as it implies something always new and is always, in some extent, personal and intimate. The openness of the process for some architects, will lead, anyway and in any given context to the simplification and the selection of solutions by the most powered. It is to say that, at the end, and despites any intention and speculation of flexibility, the architectural project will be particular and personal, in biggest or smaller scale depending on the architect and its means, keeping the public behind the scenes, at the purposes seized only at the last moment, at the innumerable glimpses of ideas that didn’t arrive to the maturity, at the cautious selections and rejections. On the other hand, is not to common when the author is in condition to retrace the steps by which his conclusions have been attained. Some selections are pursued and forgotten in a similar manner. It is constructive to be able to recall to mind the progressive steps of any project or composition. In this case, it will not be regarded as a break of properness to show the modus operandi by with some projects are put together. The intention of this manifest is to refer that not point in the composition are accidental or intuitive, the work can proceed step by step, to its completion. For the beginning of this writing let’s dismiss, as irrelevant, the circumstances (necessity) which gave rise to the intention of creating a specific project: program, clients, budget, site conditions, among all the rest of variables. There is an important distinction to make, the project ideally can suit at once the popular and the critical taste, better the critical, the popular will be filled independently with time.
It is possible to commence then with this intention.
The S cale
At first, let us consider for a moment any given space, any ‘interval’ provided that it is not empty. Such a space contains things yet is not itself a thing or material ‘object’. Is it then a floating ‘medium’, a simple abstraction, or a ‘pure’ form? No - precisely because it has a content. The first consideration will be the extent of the project, or scale. This is obviously dependent on other factors too, as the site, program and regulations, but as this manifesto is totally conceptual, we are analyzing certain aspects that are not unconditionally physical. The idea of scale is interconnected with the size of the object of course, its proportions, and also the inner distribution of elements, spaces, agglomeration of elements, voids, surfaces and tones. We are defining here a very important aspect, and it is the extension of the work related with the visuals and the movement of the body through space and all the phenomena that our senses will experience when doing so. If work is too big, in the aspects before expressed, we must understand that the immensely important effect derivable from unity impression will be more difficult to achieve, depending of course If that’s the intention. It is very important that the project will follow a central logic and ideal, that will guide the process and will be present all the time, all the rest of the aspects will respect this one, even if the main idea will be the differentiation between elements in all the structure. It in important to find advantages to counterbalance the loss of unity which attends it. As cleared already, the unity is not simply the physical one, but more importantly, the conceptual, functional, diagrammatical, critical. There are different considerations in this point, for some the project should respect the context, be linked with it and grow from it, for others the surroundings will not define any aspect of the building itself, as it will be totally generic, and for others the exterior and the interior of the work do not need to be necessary complementary. In any case, it is not important. The creator needs to understand the mode of perceptions he is planning for his proposal, If spaces or structures themselves are too big, long, deep, the interpretation and image from the users will be achieved in different scales.
The S cale
A big space is, in fact, merely a succession of small ones, taking as reference the human scale and the relations of space used in a determined period of time, that is to say, small atmospheric effects. It is needles to demonstrate that a space-project- is only efficient when it excites (or it doesn’t at all if is that the intention), by elevating the soul, and all intense excitements are, through a physical necessity, brief. Is for this reason that projects of Le Corbusier such as Notre Dame du Haut (Ronchamp) and La Tourette are so effectively experienced. Le Corbusier understood the significance of the composition and the use of volumes, spaces, color for the human scale from diverse points. A succession of poetical excitements, interspersed, inevitably with corresponding contrasts, the whole thing vastly full of artistic elements, totality, unity of effect. It appears evident then that there is a distinct limit, as regards scale and composition to all works of architecture. From smaller pieces as Ronchamp to bigger buildings such as projects of Louis Kahn in India and Bangladesh. This kind of relations is also used by architects such as Steven Holl, which projects are normally responding to proportions and visuals defined by the Section Aurea. This element are completely linked with the degree of the true poetical effect which is capable of inducing, for it is clear that the scale must be in direct ratio of the intensity of the intended effect, a certain size, scale, composition is absolutely requisite for the production of any effect at all. Holding in view these considerations, as well as the degree of excitement which is deemed, never below the critical rapports to the discipline, is reached what is conceived the proper scale, conglomerations, spaces construction and deepness for the intended project. Of course, this limit on dimensions is related also with the pleasure the users will experiment later. This is a very good thing for architects, as the elements that will define the whole expression of the project are not just intangible, but also measurable. The problem of ‘beauty’ and ‘pleasure’ is that now are seen as an extra, but are absolutely important.
Impression, Ef fect, Atmosphere
The next thought here is concerned with the choice of an impression, effect, or atmosphere to be conveyed. Here it is important to observe that throughout the construction, it is necessary to keep steadily in view the design of rendering the work universally appreciable. This is related with the combination of potentialities of the work for being acknowledged internationally and in all kinds of critical environments. The project should always contribute to the critical components of the discipline, and thatâ€™s achieved also, with the creation of generic (international) proposals that will give more values to the understanding of architecture as a very complex and intellectually developed process. The project must be abstract enough to avoid being interpreted to easily and the process of reading should be complex enough, of course, in conceptual levels. I should be carried out of this immediate topic to show an element that, with the concept and abstraction, stands in need of demonstrations, the point I mean is: the Beauty, as a legitimate character of architecture. Of course, mentioning this word can carry on innumerable misunderstandings and controversy, but anyway, beauty is inherently in each composition, and is constantly achieved in the different projects based mostly in the used proportions. This is a topic with wide ranges of perceptions. Beautiful, together with sublime, marvelous, superb and on, is an adjective that is commonly used to indicate something we like, so in this sense, it seems that beautiful, for common perception is basically the same as what is good. There is an infinite number of things that we consider good, and speaking about architecture, this fact is related for mostly everybody with nature, materiality, and intimacy, of course fashion plays a major role here, and contemporary houses with gardens, interiors with authorâ€™s furniture and infinite pools are also considered beautiful, because in this case they resume a level of luxury that everybody would like to have and enjoy. Of course, this is not the kind of beauty that interests us in this precise writing. But let us not confuse words, the marvelous is always beautiful, anything marvelous is beautiful. And this is related with the first intentions of ancient constructions, monumental as the Egyptian and Latino American pyramids, proportionally expressive as the Greek and late the Roman buildings. A classical building in general.
Impression, Effect, Atmosphere
Something good is that which stimulates our desire. Relating this definition to architecture, we can clearly define some basic aspects that will exemplify the meaning of beauty in architecture. Beautiful examples of compositions and other kinds of projects can be seen undoubtedly with the works of Louis Kahn, with his sensitivity to work with materials and light; and Zumthor’s materiality for example. Works of Andrei Tarkovski, that knew how to translate poetry into cinema, and so on. The common element between the mentioned examples is that the impact that they produce is very ‘physical’, as it awake impressions instantly. This is, of course one of the kinds of beauty we should be aware of, the effect of the immediate. Senses are excited with the sole visualization of the project. The other extreme in the interpretation of this concept of beauty is in the unknown, the abstract and invisible values that are very strong in projects of architects such as Rem Koolhaas and Le Corbusier, musicians like Thom Yorke and directors as Lars von Trier and David Lynch. Here the sense of beauty is translated into factors that are mostly analytical, diagrammatical and structural in the sense of composition of the work. These works try to affect the discipline by modifying elements that can not be understood for the naked eye, it is necessary to read, explore, use, experiment, in order to get the idea and the core that moves the design, and that’s what makes them beautiful. We must conclude then that, the pleasure which is at one the most intense, the most elevating and the purest is, I believe, the contemplation of the ‘beautiful’ created by the mixture of these two approaches before explained. When we speak of beauty here, we don’t mean precisely a quality, as is supposed, but an effect, and intense and pure elevation of the soul and of the intellect. So lets designate beauty as one fundamental of architecture, merely because it is an obvious rule of Art. Of course, Eisenman will approach this concept in a way and Zumthor in another totally different, but no one has been presumptuous enough to deny the peculiar elevation alluded to beauty in any of their project in different ways. We need to understand the manifestations of the true values of the project, the object truth: the satisfaction of the intellect; and the object passion: the excitement of the soul.
Impression, Effect, Atmosphere
Truth demands precision, intellectual work, sober thinking, and passion requires inspiration. Of course passion as well as truth may be introduced profitably into a project for the reinforcement of the general effect, as do discords in music, by contrast. Meaning cannot be avoided, so it is not necessary to search for it. The immeasurable is the true one thing that captivates the mind and the measurable makes very little difference.
Once decided the atmosphere that will characterize the project, the next question is referred to the essence, or the tone to achieve the highest manifestation of this environment. If we are speaking about a museum, the idea of the atmosphere would be probably white, wide and pure, so in this case, the essence of the project, the means to achieve the atmosphere will be clean spaces, with enough natural or artificial illumination, rooms accessible from a main area, very legible and simple, for example. Exteriorly it can be anything. A practical example is the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel by Peter Zumthor, here he was concerned with the idea of creating an atmosphere mystical, silent, sheltered and thought proving interiorly, the exterior is merely a solid and rigid rectangle that as Zumthor saids, is ‘just a building’. The essence he used to achieve this intention is with the use of a dark interior that is a result of burning the wood that was covering it, leaving behind this texture and smell that reaches a highest level with the opening that provides the interior with a magical source of natural illumination. At this point it is important to move to an ordinary induction, and this is having in mind the view of obtaining some artistic-intellectual element which might serve as a key note in the construction of the rest of the project, a pivot upon which the whole structure might turn, the rest of the elements will follow and never impose. In the case of the mentioned chapel by Peter Zumthor this is achieved by using the specific method of construction applied, beginning with a wigwam made of tree trunks, layers of concrete were poured on the existing surface and when the concrete layers had set, the wooden frame was set on fire leaving behind a hollowed blackened cavity and black walls. This ‘heart’ of the composition can be of course infinite. Jean Nouvel for example uses very colorful and technological surfaces (Sofitel Hotel), very expressive volumes (Agbar Tower), contraposition of tones and contrasts (Les Bains des Docks); Peter Eisenman associate mostly the regent factor of the projects with lines and grids of development and evolution that link the ground with the new structure (Ciudad de la Cultura de Galicia); Koolhaas puts together different functions in very astute diagrammatical combinations (Tres Grande Bibliotheqhe, La Villette). The whole intention of this meditation is that, the project is conceived after
defining an effect, the tool for achieving it, and after that, the fundamental physical representation of the idea that is simply a strong quality. Over all the usual artistic effects no one is so universally employed now as the â€˜designedâ€™ interior with wooden walls and austere philosophical background, like if there is no time to lose for creating a more complete design, for the constructivists it was the composition of lines and volumes with highly mechanized structures, for the modernism, white walls and functional interiors, all concrete and glass. Certainly there are some few examples of very personal styles and criteria like Carlo Scarpa, Aldo Rossi, Pierre Chareau, or Frank Lloyd Wright. In other kind of projects, the main element, the essence, will be a physical part of it, a specific component. When we are creating a building which is conceived surrounding a stair for example, when the architect draws a plan he can draw the walls with certain abandon but the stair should be done as if it was a ruler of the space, and the stair should have a landing, that is not a landing, but a room because it will be used by a child, a young man and an old man, and when the advance is occurring they will find all kind of possibilities in the mentioned stair. It cannot be seen in any other way. It is important to understand that what makes the difference between architects and builders is the consideration of all kind of orders that the professional should consider: order of light, order of movement, order of atmospheres, order of sensations, order of the unmeasurable. A building that is to be called architecture is not a structure, is not a piece of construction, a building is a dream of life, a house is a personal dream where families grow and develop, kids play, learn, eat, meet, where there is space for studying, reading, relaxing and admiring everything around, not understanding this is a theoretical problem for the profession is very worrying, architecture is not construction and nether can be done by anybody, sometimes nether by architects themselves. The plan is the structure of the spaces, the rooms, they are speaking to each other, the structure releases space, it can be any kind of building, of any scale, the distance between pillars offer a space that is to be enjoyed by the designer. This reflection can go on and on, there are infinite elements that give meaning to architecture as a historical and permanent profession, it is necessary to be cult, and to understand certain things that are not constructive, nor technical, and of course not superficial, as it is possible to see in actual projects.
The spaces have to be free of any kind of weakness. Not longer affected by pity, doubts, superficiality, the corruption of honest values. The power of the soul and the belief in its values. It should represent a state of rebirth and growth of the discipline each time, not allowing fashion or moralities to determine these things. We must use a reason that is independent of the modern values. -Architecture determines its own valuesThe development of the project from the very beginning is as already expressed, a very personal process, that is to say, designs achieved or started following computational logics or parametrical methods that leave the interesting part of the action to algorithms and randomness is a wrong and ridiculous alternative. And is not that the process of making architecture should appear as an attempt to prevent randomness, of course controlled randomness can be a very powerful tool and it can be intelligently applied, but architects have the purest possibilities to affect surroundings with reason and inspiration, this magnificent quality is a great opportunity to make good expressions of fundamentally the re-definitions of everything that is done. What was has always been, what is has always been and what will be has always been.
These points being settled, the next stage to get into is in the nature of the essence. The pleasure we sense in architecture is deduced solely from the sense of identity in any way it will be (central or by repetition) such is the power of spaces. Depending on the essence that will be in the whole building, we must resume the physical components that will be present in the designed object. From this point the work gets more specific and so, more difficult to exemplify and it is to expand having in mind specific features of the architect of course, which aspect from each particular problem are critical? The physical part of the building, not speaking about specific use or environment yet, as said can be achieved by specificity or by diversity. Classic examples of the firs one are classical built museums, aquariums, memorials and this kind of unequivocal programs in which the essence is so strong that it leads the whole language graphically to follow it in all its extent, that means, the atmosphere and essence are the soul and matter of the project, it will be very simple in essence but powerful if it is correctly created. This kind of approach of course can be applied to other kinds of programs like housing, why not. The other type of construction, by diversity as the word explains it will be (always following the atmosphere and essence) solve by adhering to the core of the structure a continuous succession of effects, that will be defined individually and will relate with each other in any possible way, by the variation of the application of this components, the essence itself remaining unvaried. The nature if this component, as it is to be present in the whole structure, needs to be â€˜brief â€™ , we are working with human conditions, the human scale and its attachments to the building will be achieved by recognizing the project as a succession of small volumes, even in a big room, like a football field for example, we must focus in the idea that this volume is filled by multiple small areas that are actually those that affect immediately the individual, of course in this kind of space we must be aware also of the effect that represents the whole structure, visually and atmospherically. This gives us an opportunity of developing very interestingly ambiguous spaces with high philosophical and experimental values, if all this idea is really understood. Since the application of the physical component that will define the project will be repeated and varied -speaking about modular spatial volumes- there would be an insurmountable difficulty in the frequent variation of this element, but it will be also, in proportion with the container space of great facility.
The questions that arose at this point are those related with materiality, openings, light, darkness, quality of sound, smells, changing in the bodyâ€™s movement. It is very important to consider all these dimensions before commencing with the last stage of the project that will end up with the drawing activity, the idea must be well visualized mentally before drawing it. The space created following all these advices should have an aura of something quite special. At this point, the â€™soulâ€™ of the project is defined, we must just from now on, push the potentialities of the building by thinking finally in its physical connections.
A physical relationship cannot exist without an ‘base’, we still have to ask how that ‘base’ functions. The material by itself does not supply an answer, that’s why the process of building from its very beginning, is very holistic. What is the relationship of the ‘base’ to the relationship that it supports and bears? There can be no thought, no reflection, without language, and no language without a material underpinning, without the senses, without mouths and ears, without the disturbance of masses of air, without voices and the emission of articulated signs. Matter is fundamental from any perspective, even when the project intention is to move the roots of the discipline and its intentions are totally abstract and be totally immaterial, it will face the need of translating it to physical levels, and at this point, materializing it. This level of conceptualism can become very complex as it is possible to face it from very different perspectives. Phenomenologist and Abstract, contraries in their essence. On one hand the responsibility of the architect is the one of implementing a sensory design in order to stablish experiential architectural space, manipulation of space, material and light to create a memorable encounter through an impact on the human senses. This theory promotes the integration of sensory perception as a function of a built form, an experience that is beyond tangible, but rather observed and perceived. In the opposite side of this way of approaching the project, is the more abstract and non-materialistic process. The idea of creating experiences that goes beyond materials and construction, beyond sensations and sensibility. In this case the approach tries to re-define the concept of architecture, creation, development and relations with its context and ground, not focusing in materials or details but rather in the metaphysical ideas behind construction and relations of the different element that are part of the discipline. In this case the material plays a secondary role, not being this the case of the first –phenomenological- approach to architecture, in which the material is a central character. Let’s say for now that the desired intention of this ‘Process’ is to understand the use of materials in the medium point of this reflection, architects need to be able to justify and develop a project in any metaphysical level, controlling its growing and development in the desired way, and after, they should understand also, how to materialize it and create the desired experience. The full content of the design will be multiplied and reprehensible in a very wide range of points.
Related to this, a distinction has to be drawn between the problematic of space and spatial practice. The former can only be formulated on a theoretical plane, whereas the second is empirically observable. It is not hard, however, from an ill-informed approach, one that misunderstands the method and the concepts involved, to confuse the two. The problematic of space is comprised of questions about mental and social space, about their interconnections, about their links with forms on one hand and with abstraction on the other, and so the use of materials is a consequence of it. We cannot use here schematic models of design. The material is for some utilitarian, for others, the guide of the project. It needs to have force in relation with the program and atmosphere, it must be sonorous and susceptible of emphasis and light, admitting no doubt of its meaning and nature. These considerations inevitably will led to important connections that will render identifiable the conceptual intention initially attempted. It is necessary to choose a material that will embody the essence of the project, and at the same time, in the fullest possible keeping it with that melancholy which have been pre-determined when deciding the tone of the spaces. In a projects like the Tombs designed by Carlo Scarpa for example, nothing could be more expressive that solid pieces of raff concrete, changeable with time in their relation with water. Louis Kahn did the same with his Indian Institute of Management, where the use of brick is, hand by hand the core of the project and renders it unique in its kind. The same was achieved by Rafael Moneo with his Museum of Roman Art, in Spain. Those examples are very theatrical and, for the melancholic experience that they follow, they are closer to the human inner feelings. In the other hand, Sanaa achieves the completion of their philosophy with the use of concrete and glass, manifesting their intention of creating very clean spaces that appear levitating and totally transparent, like an attempt to revitalize the discipline contrasting the classical solid and permanent surfaces. Thom Mayne works very much with the experimentation and combination of technological materials, his works are a product of future and actual substances, it is possible to identify the particular intention of his buildings experientially complex. Peter Eisemnan in the other hand, manifests his indifference to the use
of materials, even thou, a project like the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin is totally physical, even if the intention of the architect (as he expresses) wasnâ€™t following this intention. Architecture cannot scape from Matter. Material is very close to atmosphere, in fact, it must be presented itself since the conceptualization stages, the method is not a step by step process, and thatâ€™s what makes it intellectually complex, and Is clear, following this method, with all its considerations will not guarantee the completion of a good project, if the architect is not good enough.
“I myself shall continue living in my glass house where you can always see who comes to call, where everything hanging from the the ceiling and on the walls stays where it is as if by magic, where I sleep nights in a glass bed, under glass sheets, where who I am will sooner or later appear etched by a diamond.” — André Breton The next desideratum is 90 per cent a pretext for the continuous use of the material in the different spaces and the reinforcement of its presence. In observing the difficulty which can be found in inventing a sufficiently plausible reason –that is not rhythm or equilibrium- for the continuous repetition of openings, we should not fail to perceive that this difficulty will arise solely for the pre assumption that the openings have to be continuously or monotonously present, the difficulty lay in the reconciliation of this monotony with the exercise of reason. With the word opening here we mean any emptiness, surface or texture that will frame views and allow natural light to get inside the structure. Windows, holes, apertures, will not be divided formally because we are trying to achieve the illusion of equilibrium or patterns. The openings are part of a reasoning process, very naturally adopted. The project is, like the cinema experience, a sequence of scenes, each of them with particular beginnings, developments and endings. From non visible aspect to visible ones, the light, visuals and transparences, one, the other or all of them together are part of the same body that expresses an idea. Light supports materials, environment and tone, openings emphasize visuals, frame realities. This idea is not solely an exterior-interior relation. Inside, this reality Is strong in the same extent, visual connections, air and illumination altogether can be related in incredible ways, fantastical experiences and endless joy. Certainly, this is a serious aspect and it needs to be treated as well, is not enough to defend a proposal by suggesting superficial and infantile justifications like: ‘the project is an extension of nature, wrapped around a central ‘pocket’ and inviting the surrounding landscape, the majestic views are contrasted by the intimate atmosphere of the building, gentle curves, continuity of the landscape, growing from the topography rather that dropped from the sky. What a waste of time and intellect.
“What binds me to singularities, to this one or that one, male or female, rather than that one or this one, remains finally unjustifiable. […] How would you ever justify the fact that you sacrifice all the cats in the world to the cat that you feed at home every day for years, whereas other cats die of hunger at every instant? Not to mention other people? How would you justify your presence here speaking one particular language, rather than there speaking to others in another language?” — Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Death
With light comes darkness, and only embracing it can we grasp the true light’s transformative mystery. Darkness is the direct product of light and has a presence of the same strength, is active and evokes the uncertainty of not being able to see, it inspires deep mystery. Without darkness we would not think of light as we do, it would be a visually homological word. This body of contrast between light and darkness facilitates a world of infinite gradations of the two. As illumination, architects need to evoke silence and secret sometimes, shades can turn into an essential element to reveal the arrangement and form of volumes. Obscurity and light move from surface to surface in the same extent and importance, is part of our human condition. It is important to understand how to manage the levels of darkness in the projects to control in a bigger extent the atmosphere and the intentions of the building, a place that will facilitate the interpretation and experimentation, it doesn’t matter at the end who built the building, its presence will be noticeable by use, it will be a creature capable of speak, and very naturally, suggesting itself and expanding infinitely the expressive qualities of the interiors of the project. A good example and a great laboratory for the understanding of the real meaning and consequences of darkness in architecture was the Kowloon Walled City, characterized by its urban self-growth, absent of any regulation and planning, almost absent completely of natural illumination. The understanding of the activities that should be realized during da or night was totally lost.
Quality of S ound
Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise in bigger or smaller levels, if we try to ignore it, it disturbs us, and when we listen to it, we may find it fascinating as long as it is not too loud. The sound of a car moving over cobblestones at fifty miles per hour. A train arriving to a stations while is raining. We must learn how to capture and control these sounds and silences, to use them as instruments. Every architect needs to have a mental library of â€˜soundsâ€™. Of course, sounds like these mentioned before are obviously strong, but there is another range of vibrations less evident but more efficient that may work if correctly linked with the atmosphere and human factors, to increase the desired holistic effect desired. Getting far in the conception of the project, for keeping the tone in each stanza and in the whole structure, now we need to understand, never losing sight of the intention of design how the acoustics will work, how is it going to be, reverberating, pleasant, silent, sad, melancholic or annoying. Of all topics and acoustics, which one, according to the universal understanding of mankind, is the most appropriated for expressing this particular intention? We must understand the unmeasurable qualities of the space, to later understand the measurable, the obvious. The space is not simply silent or noisy, it is dense, liquid, humid, atmospheric, subterranean, a group of sensitive properties that belong to the abstract reality and are equally able to affect the feelings of what we perceive as common reality. Those aspects are sadly, not meaningful for us, as they indicate forms of subconscious activities. The quality of sound goes beyond the objects, there are not equivalences in the trivial understanding of architecture, but there is an ideal ratio of presence. These qualities are not just what we suppose them to be. The project cannot be managed simply from the superficial perspective that we are used to, this is not simply about isolation layers and the best technologies of walls with complex sections, we need to combine the ideas of a space continuously repeating himself and an anatomy of spirituality, bearing in mind that the impression can or cannot vary at every turn in the spaces.
B o dy’s Movement
There is a relationship between the architectural body, the materials, and the human body. Movement and architecture is not about form. There are all the elements that will define the project creation before thinking in physical terms. When moving in the space the body is involved in a succession of scenes, the space discovers itself in the more or less emotional levels that are required. The process is full of perspectives and visuals, contrasts, depths, combinations of frames per second. Space can have the capacity to go straight to your emotions, the people should have the chance to explore the space, but at the same time, in a fragment of a second people should experiment its main impression, like a piece of art or music that gets you at first. The first impression should be exact, it is a beautiful human capacity, in a moment the people should get the effect of a lot of conscious and unconscious things that you know and you don’t at the same time, like if you don’t have any time to lose. Architecture, and space in movement has this capacity, it can take longer or shorter but this atmosphere is manifested during experience and movement, it sticks in the memory and feelings. You are in the world and the space in a specific moment, and there is always something bigger to see and experiment, this is the role of architecture. The distortions to be introduced in the space to travel must be as simplified as possible, since the main impact of the building is directly related to the conscious or semi conscious recollection of all images and passages. One must determine one’s public presence before trying to conceive another space. The ‘impact’ of the field is less effective the more it approaches a rational relation of spaces. The more the rational character of this relation is apparent, the more indistinguishable it becomes from the ordinary spirit to feel the influence and the pressure of the ambient. This is naturally not limited to the relation of spaces inside the structure, and we are not speaking about contrast between the volumes and room’s decoration, but about their relations. The most distant location, the longer period needed for reaching the other zone, in general, and the biggest and defined this point of intersection between different areas, are the elements which contributes most sharply to the overall impression, and not just the elements that directly and by themselves determine the nature of this impression.
B odyâ€™s Movement
The space relations in the reversal way is always the most direct and the least effective. When the process will be successfully applied, not many people will remain unaffected by an exact interpretation of its principles, life can never be too disorienting: The Processâ€™s space concept on this level would really spice it up. Arrived to this point, here it is that we need to see the opportunities afforded for the effect on which we had been depending, that is to say, the effect of the variation of application of everything we have been explaining before. Basically all those ideas will be articulated following a common denominator, that is the idea of the conceptualized atmosphere. For the first time then, we need to think about the materialization of the idea.
Ab out Symb olism and Meaning
When we see what we understand as architecture in general, it seems that the architect is trying to make the building talk, talk abut feelings, images, people or love, and this is what make the difference between construction and architecture. Architecture do not need to say anything, it doesn’t need to talk, doesn’t need to express anything specific. -Architecture is acting, what it does is that it shows active and quiet, shadowed and light, blurred and shiny, it doesn’t need to talk or to represent anything at all. -Architecture is a time-space art, different sensations remain and disappear, people expect to find in architecture, graphical and obvious qualities, but it is just there, as it is, and there is not need for it to be anything more than what it is, we don’t need it to be happy, or a bucket or a mountain, we just need it to be there. -Architecture do not need to talk directly, the experience of space, silence and materials will express what is meant to be seen and experimented. This is a statement that is important to understand. It is ridiculous to try to identify graphically a project, or to relate it with natural beings or shapes, as is equally senseless trying to achieve a specific reaction when visualizing the building exteriorly or interiorly as can be a tornado, a cloud or an interrogation symbol. -Architecture has always a meaning when is created based on strong conceptual work, the project is there, a body of matter, showing itself immortal, personal, superior because if its inner qualities, those that can not be seen from outside and sometimes even from inside. Like somebody interesting to know, you need to look at it, speak with it, interact, explore, touch, and at the end, for sure, admire. It is not done for a magazine page, and neither to hang in an exposition room and amaze everybody around because it is ‘beautiful’. -Architecture justifies its own existence, it will emerge to create and show its own values, which at the end are completely rooted in life on this earth.
About Symbolism and Meaning
It is of extreme importance to understand that a writing of this style and with such intentions can never be understood in normal conditions, the mood is a quality that makes the biggest difference. Nobody, in the more extreme of the comparisons, can understand what is said here while speaking with somebody else, in a cafĂŠ, or a bar. The mood defines everything, and is this level of ecstasy when you thin you really understand the qualities that cannot be touched or seen, when you get pissed off against conventions, and against the current curse of architecture, is not an analytical and rational mental process, is neither a normal mental condition, luckily enough will be reached once or twice a week, but it is extraordinary to expand your own limits and understand what really matters and what else is there to be done. While not being in that mental status it is senseless to try to understand this manual and any of the chapters and characterizations here explained, it will be fluent and tasteless water, this is when you know, which your real dotes are. Meditation is the greatest method, unconsciousness the best mean. Projects envisioned through this Process will offer a new variability of sensations, unexpected experiments will become possible through the inventive use of this conditions and their modification. This experience will give rise to a new field of creation and technologies, contexts and diverse approaches will influence the development of this ideal model for a new urbanism and a new architecture. And of course, this is not just in architectural scale, the approach to urbanism is also included, as a street is a corridor a of a building, the parliament is a house and a forest is a garden.
â€œLeave ever y thing. Leave Dada. Leave your w ife. Leave your mistress. Leave your hopes and fears. Leave your children in the woods. Leave the substance for the shadow. Leave your easy life, leave what you are given for the future. Set off on the roads.â€? Andre Breton
The C ontext
Everything that needs to be said is already there, it just needs to be putted in order and combined. The new architecture must re-capture and re-activate everyday life. Facades and materials are important, anyway, it depends on the interest and the architect, for some these elements are of extreme importance, for others as Eisenman as he said himself, this is not particularly interesting. In any case, when you go away you need to have a thought about the built structure in space, the building must have qualities that makes it memorable, is not just about being there. A work of art has not other purpose but being there, but if it is a masterpiece, it is already more. The building â€˜beautyâ€™ needs to go beyond the image, what is important Is trying to find the difference between the ways of conceptualization the space and its relation whit an infinite number of elements in the context, a hybrid design will replace politics and moralities, and will successfully work. The only way in which you can approach your work is by approaching the differences, the cultural and historical situation. There are some experiences that are radically contrasting, when you look to great pieces of work and you try to understand them the ultimate objective Is to understand how this person sees the world, is about being in the world, not about confirming but about doubt. Is only the deep you can go into the understanding of the landscape, the meaning and function of architecture what makes it be in a way or the other, but not better or worse. The process may be the justification of the answer to the necessities of a site, or the approach can be totally different. Every project contains roles, it can be very urban or very individualistic, anticipative or static. In any case the building needs to stimulate the environment. It needs to extend the limits of the understanding of the space by the existent inhabitants of the place. The approach to the site of the project must be completely amoral, and neutral politically speaking, if not the solution will become rapidly dubious and fragile, unable to survive in its simplest expression. The Process that will guide the intervention in a specific area will express it first of all as a negation of the value of the previous organization of the site. In order to result successful in all its extent, the new element must confront everything around it, reject it and superimpose; if truth can be achieved at all, it can come only from an individual who at first, purposefully disregards everything that is traditionally taken to be important, decomposes the reality, and based on that, acts. The new building whatever it is, must have freedom
The C ontext
from all external constraints, in this state of existence, it would live a life without the artificial limits of moral obligation. Here we are obviously not speaking about assuming the cntext, respecting it or dismissing it, this concept goes beyond the physical expression of the building and this simple relation with what surrounds it, we are speaking about responsibility, existence, freedom, autonomy, it is better for the project to be individual than collaborative if it can not be both.
Unity and Division
Cynical time has been a dominant since the beginning of mankind history. Once a society became fixed into a philosophy, it found itself enclosed thereby within the mentality in question. In communities the predominant ideology is that one that excludes the few, in any scale it can be experienced. This way of power is in the societyâ€™s surface, it can be seen, touched, tasted. The spectacle itself erases the dividing line between self and world, and the self is eventually overwhelmed, it also erases the dividing line between true and false. The individual, condemned to be passive in the acceptance of a fake everyday reality, is driven to the illusion that he is reacting to his fate, as everything is moved by digital and commercial forces. Then for some arises the need to imitate the consumer expectative and experiences, in a truly infantile and degrading operation. The satisfaction that this Manifesto will supply by virtue of its use value will be easily acknowledged. Waves of enthusiasm will grow among professionals and students in front of this new methodology of learning and building, and at the same time absurdity might accumulate individuals in the society of spectacle, boosted by the communications media, convinced of the reality of their lies. It will mean the contraposition of two totally different and particular ways of producing; superficiality against intellect, spectacle against presence, actors against individuals, it is, at the end a very ironic discussion, it contrasts the reign of modern consumerism with an authentic need or desire that is not itself equally determined by society and its history. In one hand, a sharp process of replacement of principles needs to be carried on, it means that fake architecture cannot help but be exposed as a product of the society of spectacle; on the other hand, the process of exposing the lack of meaning of the architecture by a few, will end up with the re-imposition of the spectacle in all the spheres of the discipline, education, commercialization, exploration, construction and critic. We could say that it is a lost cause, and it is, because the intellect will be superior to the spectacle just in utopia, but any project should, in its essence enrich the discipline and expand it, so it does this manuscript. An existing space may outlive, of course, its original purpose and the raison dâ€™etre which determines its forms, functions and structures.
First of all, the Process goes against the spectacle, no more shiny objects screaming in the city, at the same time, it introduces a total participation. Against particular architecture, it is part of a lived moment, generic bodies for future critics, a global practice full of intentions. This will tend to collective and personal new ways of architectural production, which will be, without any doubt anonymous, the architect or builder himself will not leave any traces. Against blind preservation and construction. The beginning of proposals and experiencing of new projects will be a revolution that will expand the behavior in a more dynamic and unitary architecture and urbanism, extensible to all habitants of the planet. Following the ‘Process’, architecture will be an act of dialogue and interaction, as today it has been completely separated from society, just as some architects are separated from the depths of the discipline. Our enclosed period of superficiality must be superseded by complete intellectualism. At this higher stage, everyone can become an architect, a total creator, as architecture is closer to common sense than to design skills, like that, the lineal criteria of design actually in use will be rapidly dissolved. Everyone, architects, students and common people will have a multidimensional knowledge of tendencies, experiences and radically different ways to approach architecture and urbanism simultaneously. The anti-specialism, the amateur professional, against economic and popular abundance and for the reaching of the highest intellectualism. Such are our goals, and these will be the future goals of humanity. As it develops, then, the concept of space will become broader. It will infiltrate, even invade, the concept of production, becoming part – perhaps the essential part of its content. As I finally, slowly introduce this gesture, word, tone, look, morality and involuntary parody, that makes emerge the greatest seriousness, am still willing to remind the readers of the virtues of reading this document in the right way, that is, far from the untouchable, the divine and holy. The spirits of this writing are themselves descending all the time upon me, and upon some others, pulling ears and punishing blindness. At least what you are about to do is ‘new’, and if you don’t understand it, you misunderstand time, but does it matter? Well, this misunderstanding happens to be the actual common ground, you are able to enjoy happiness and music, and much better you dance to this rhythm. Is that what you want?
Appendix: Finally, i left my bed
Long, long ago, in a land where the concept of time had no meaning, there were four territories as it was well said in a certain book. In the third Territory, every last Friday of the month the people who think the same at the same time, gathered at the foot of the hill, that very hill that draw a singular melancholic smile over the cells for living. In those times nobody was sure what to do, that’s why the visit to the poetic tunnel -for some people empty, for the others beyond any doubt sublime- was so needed. There was no division during the ‘consultations’, the tribe was an obvious one. I discerned young gentlemen with horrendous hats and some individuals of honorable position; housewives with an air of comfortable peace and others with recognizable difficulties. There were pupils, professionals, common street people, artists and mathematicians. The Triangle was a desolate place, all mystery in the present and of excessive desire during the consultations. I couldn’t discern when everything started. For accessing the place, a quasi-ritual was required: a list, a present, some connections. Once inside, just one individual at a time, and only after expressing a sometimes hypocrite devotion towards the triangle, you where ready to ask. -“How do my shoes look?”-“Will my son-to-born be tall and elegant?-“Can I go to the second Territory?”-“Can I build this glorious monument in marble?”-“Can I demolish the bubble that is pressing the air in the horizon?”Let’s say, that at the beginning the questions were constantly naïve, and they were usually rejected by the only leader. From experience the consultants learned to use quotes that interfered with the common reasoning of the triangle, and made it accept the query in an instant. -“The statue will reflect the glory of the past and will float spreading delicious perfumes in your name”-“The bubble will also produce enough energy for five others”How could the triangle possibly deny such observations? About three minutes later a deep voice could be heard and there was an answer in form of verse, positive if the question was intelligently (manipulatively) formulated. The approval meant the mandatory execution of the action. The
Appendix: Finally, i left my bed
triangle almost never committed perceptible mistakes, and when it did, it was justified as a ‘misunderstanding’ of the answer. The triangle and the place embodying it in general seemed to be of an excessive antiquity. The young visitor and writer of the essay in question realized this from the first second he went inside. Others were looking for approbation, and as many others too, he went out disappointed. Not just this time, but also the second and then third time after. -“I had worked so much upon my imagination but still I cannot contribute even vaguely to the reversion of this extensive decay”-He thought, and continued -“Why do we trust without any vacillation this pestilent, mystic, faintly gray wall?”With sentiments of terror and other paradoxical sensations, he decided to leave without consulting the wall that strange and fancy Territory with people and walls dressed the same. What a risk! In the next Territory that he reached through illegal conducts, he met other ordinary ceilings, walls, bubbles, and trees, different from those of his land, but similar enough to be used by the same people. Hesitating, he decided to try again, wondering if perhaps, he could gain confidence and stability with the approbation of the immaterial leader of this narrow Territory. He waited, this time until the second Sunday of the month, three months after his arrival and preparations for the encounter. Passing through a forest of stones, walls with perceptible fissures and instability, he found himself in front of a phantasmagorical square of enormous dimensions, without any content or matter; it looked as if the whole universe were in front of his eyes. After a vague remind of his grandeur as pure and incorruptible, he proceeded with the inquiry: -“Maybe it is not usual but, this object can mean a new breath for this atmosphere, I beg you to consider it”-
Appendix: Finally, i left my bed
After a long and uncomfortable scene, the same tone of the voice arose: -“Not a single little line, Let’s give it a bit of time; When all at once will see the dawn, But not yet, not here, not now.”However, convinced of his honest efforts he tried again here. Then two more times in the other two Territories that he visited after, where he found a great spacious hole in the shape of a sun but with the same emptiness of the square, the triangle and the last Leader of the last land he reached: a surprisingly beautiful and hollow curve. -“I will rise up “- he said. It was with difficulty that he could recognize some identity in himself. There was no land for him. Without exaggeration the four Territories possessed such an ordinate expansion that was difficult to separate them in regions once you know them all. But what is behind those enormous sculptures in want of moral energy? What are those expressions of super power that always convey with the same usual coherence over the simple humanity? -“I need to know what is the reason of wearing all as flag, the hollow, balanced, perfectly modulated conclusions of each shape, without reclaim and with energetic and tremendous common excitement.”Not without fear, he jumped getting close to the unnatural curve, of the last Territory. His nerves were exited, full of interest, he suffered from an oppressive faint when getting close and close. Lights and stringed instruments could be imagined behind the shape. -“I must continue, I shall see!”In terror, he finally passed the Curve, blinded by the light, and struggling with his own feelings, he stopped, standing, with a feeling of unequivocal crescent happiness. There was a shining curve, in front of him, a beautiful square, and at the sides a sphere and a triangle respectively.
Appendix: Finally, i left my bed
All the elements were of the most marvelous materials, and they were in a perfect natural position for reflecting one into each other in infinite shines of light, like waterfalls of precious silver. -â€œA sensation of stupor oppressed me, as my eyes finally saw. The disease those Territories suffer from is the melancholy reflected in themselves, and relieved over the increasing faith of the crowdâ€?. -
Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction included in ILLUMINATIONS: Essays and Reflections, ed. Hannah Arendt, New York, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968 / and Schocken Books, NY, 1969. De Certeau, Michel. Walking in the city, The practices of everyday life (S. F. Rendall, trans.). Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984. Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs. Random House, 1974, first published, 1882 Holl, Steven. Juhani Pallasmaa, Alberto P. Questions of Perception. New York: William Stout, 2006. W. Adorno, Theodor. Aesthetic Theory. New York: Continuum, 2002. Eco, Umberto. History of Beauty (Storia della belleza). Rizzoli, November 13th 2004 Calvino, Italo. If on a Winterâ€™s Night a Traveler (Se una note dâ€™inverno un viaggiatore). L&OD Key Porter 1981, October 20th 1982 Debord, Guy. The Society of Spectacle (La Societe du Spectacle). Zone Books, September 1995. Cage, John. Silence: Lectures and Writings. Wesleyan, June 1961 Tarkovsky, Andrei. Sculpting in Time (Die Versiegelte Zeit). University of Texas Press, January 1st 1989. Phillips, Gene D. Stanley Kubrick: Interviews (conversations with filmmakers). University Press of Mississippi, January 2001.
Adrian Labaut Hernandez
This essay, poised between philosophy and architecture tries to present a theory of architecture and the city, or rather an ideal for the ar...