By: Aaron Kapphahn, Graduate Student, University of Minnesota
There has always been a need for architecture, just as there has also always been an architecture of need. We need structures for certain practices of our society. These practices, and often the architecture that is created to accommodate them is not glamorous. But these sorts of structures have been needed, and built throughout time. The Roman aqueducts, the iron bridges and train stations of the early twentieth century, and even the parking garages and power plants that concern us today all attest to the power of utility as a
driving force in architecture. If we are to discuss the architecture of utility, we must first define the two different meanings of utility. The first: utility as a state of being useful; the second: the moral and political rightness of an action is determined by its utility, defined by Jeremy Bentham as its contribution to the greatest good of the greatest number. This present examination of the architecture of utility is concerned with the tension between these two different meanings as they are embodied in the infrastructure of a particular
portion of the city of Minneapolis.
Flowers amid discolored wire spools, 5th street north.
Aaron Kapphahn is a third year graduate student in the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota.