Choicelessness

The edge of a petal

Posted in architecture by johnsnavely on November 30, 2008

More thoughts on representation in architecture… foetal, as usual. I won’t name names, but I find that some architects (as opposed to artists) have strange ways of judging things.

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So as to not offend, I’ll pretend it’s me as an example. (Apologies for going all anecdatal here…)

Let’s say I’m into Takashi Murakami: He’s cool. But when I see a building that is colorful and graphic, like FAT‘s work, for example. I give it the thumbs down: They’re not so cool. It’s as if I have two separate modes for judging stuff that I see. In my reptilian-architecture brain, architectural representation somehow gets evaluated differently than other visual input. I have an affection for the authenticity of an old wooden bass, but strive to make clean, modern design when I make walls. What?

Of course, by pointing out slight inconsistencies, I don’t wish to prohibit variety of tastes. Quite the opposite, I think architects would feel a certain relief if they tried to unify their judgments a bit.

Why couldn’t architectural drawings and models look like Murakami prints? Or just more like the stuff that you (the architect) likes?

When I look at my own work and it’s a failure, which happens often, there are two culprits to blame.

One: I didn’t work hard enough. (Michel Gondry said at a talk at MIT that when people call him a genius he would disagree. His talent, instead, was “finishing”.)

Two: My idea sucked. Why? Because the series of judgements that went into it were flawed; what I judged to be beautiful was, in fact, a steamy pile.

Sometimes one is responsible, sometimes both. When it’s the second I take a long look at the stuff I like… I try and draw a path between that stuff and my stuff. Was the original stuff stupid? Or am I just not copying it right? I try and answer these questions. Maybe I have to go look at other, similar stuff and decide if I like that too. Then I try again.

This is a pretty fun process!

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