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December 11, 2006

Architecture as Space...or the lack there-of.

Reading Zevi's Architecture as Space article brought many interesting things to light to me; Zevi describes architecture as not only the building, but it is actually the extension of the world around it. It is quoted in fact, "...content of the internal space as important as the outside...the interior space and all the surrounds or includes us is the basis of our judgement of a building." It's interesting to think of the contents and details of an area as the actual definition. I like the idea of Architecture as the environment; not something singular or alone, but as a collective whole and interconnected between space and tangible objects.

When I try and apply this concept to architecture as I know it, it makes a lot of sense. Like, the use of space between old roman pillars...that is using the lack of area between physical columns. Maybe if we thought of architecture as too inclosed, it would be considered too much like art (or sculpture, looking at it in the 3-D sense). We are adding more dimensions, more factors in the equation than just the aesthetic. It boggles my mind to think about the complexities of which the building becomes. Does this mean that interior decorating addresses the emotional issues of how a space functions? Or is it just a more shallow version of combining colors and fashions? Does that mean architecture is the manipulation of space and the physical entities inhabiting it? There are a lot of interesting ways to look at this...and just goes to show when you are researching a location for building (or building for remodeling), there are so many outter intricacies playing into the situation.

So, then, does this diminish the existence of architecture without an interior space? Does this even count as architecture? Where does it cross into art? But then again, architecture can also be considered as art itself. Maybe this could be the branch into landscape architecture, or the manipulation of outside space (without an interior area). Anyways, I'm not entirely sure there is a definite answer to this speculation, or that it can even really be defined. Does any relative philosophical conversation really have an answer? Not really. I expect this is one that will continue.

December 4, 2006

The Idea of "Architecture"

The first article I managed to force myself through was by Neil Gershenfeld on the revolution of innovation that is sweeping our technologically focused country (the more and more we adapt to a computerized life). The article, "Fab", verbalizes the tools we are creating, why we are creating them, how it is being done technologically, and what we hope to accomplish because of it. I am completely intrigued by the idea that we create in the name of what we *want*, and not necessarily by need. I love that we can cross the boundary between being technologically challenged (as artists or the rest of us who have limited knowledge in the math and science area) in order to make inventions. I also like that our inspiration is personal--the best thing for you is created by you (for no one else can anticipate your needs better).

But really...this idea could hold the possibility for great things if you think about it; we have third world countries that we struggle to provide aid for...but what if we allowed them their own technologies to come up with innovations driven by their own needs? As Gershenfeld states in the article, "...the learning process was ddriven by the demand for, rather than supply of, knowledge." I also think about the pity of how impersonal mass produced objects are; what happend to the home-spun knit sweater that grandma used to make (but was not always the most popular item in the closet)? You think about the most expensive items of clothing, that are "engineered to fit your body type," which needless to say, isn't particularily true. Or perhaps like in Ozayr's lecture on Architecture and Technology when he mentioned the fight between grandma's home-made donuts and the Krispy Kreme empire. When you think about it, creativity is kind of like an economical process as well (with the supply and demand aspect).

The last article I read was by Louis Kahn, and frankly, I never thought I would reach the end of the article. Thick with intellectual jargon, I felt like I was wading through a pool of philosophy, fishing for random meaningful phrases. Titled "Silence and Sunlight", I found myself trying to imagine the architectural significance behind their definitions. Repeatedly, it is mentioned that silence is the feeling from which man's desire to express themselves. It's fascinating to think that profound thoughts belong to those that are not always the most vocal--what if we got more accomplished by trying to think through things more thoroughly, rather than trying to jump the gun right away? Have we lost the time and patience to think things through? It is possible, then, that architecture is the freedom of expression in the most physical form (hence, Kahn's definition of architecture as being an idea rather than something existent). Or at least, that being the idea he's trying to convey.

Light is then best depicted created by the structure--or the giver of all presences. It makes sense, when you think about it. We "see" objects because of the reflection of light. Without it, we would be in darkness. But even then, you wonder at how we can still see darkness with light all around (also known in layman's term, shadow). The shadows seem to belong to this concept of light as well, for they are cast as the spaces between lighted things. Yet again, architecture does not exist without the light illuminating it's presence; in darkness, what can we truly see? And is it there if it can't be proven? The notion sounds ridiculous...and really...I could be making this stuff up and pulling it out of the air...or I have just seriously overanalyzed the refraction of light on buildings. Or both. Have I seriously accomplished any original thoughts? Probably not beyond anything that hasn't been thought of before. I like the idea of being able to see as the "release of light," rather than the perception of the eyes. It seems a slightly more artistic definition.