we are a generation who is accustomed to rapid information assimilation and processing. This being so, i am concerned what this means for architecture, both in the now and in the future. This acceptance of rapid assimilation and one-look processing is a foundation tenant of many firms today; they revolve around the idea of creating architectural one liners that don't need to be viewed again to get the idea. Or else they become either over(or possibly OVERT and INTENTIONALLY)-ly annoying in their stimuli and therefore merely ugly. This troubles me on many levels.If something can be seen, glanced at, and accepted into ones consciousness as merely existing, or existing as ITSELF (i.e. stand alone or OBJECT buildings), then what is the use of the build form anymore. if that is the sole reason for the creation of architecture, to entertain or distract, then we designers might as well give up and start building designer cardboard boxes - merely known for the name which is printed on the side. The problem rests in the realization that for architecture to be rapidly or instantaneously assimilatable, one must make the form simple enough (or on the converse, flashy, shiny, distracting, garish enough) to be understood. The architects who practice this architecture of the now suggest that we live in a technological world and therefore for architecture to carry relevance it must be as fast (or fast to understand perhaps) as the other forms of stimuili surrounding or encasing it/encased within it. Does everything go so fast? Is everything instantaneous? Can we blink and have food at the touch of a command? close, but not fully.
And isn't part of the alluire of REAL Food (as opposed to "fud" , i.e. fast food, microwaveable food, instant meals) the waiting and then savouring of the tender morsels of meat, the slow sip of the soup, the enjoyment of taste, smell, texture, atmosphere, and ambiance?)
how many times have you waited at a light?
if this world is indeed so utterly obsessed with the now and impatience, then why do people always talk of needing to "get away for a while?"
Why do people own lazyboys if they areen't needed, as comfort and relaxation take a second seat to commodity, commerce, and speed?
Heck! why do day timers and palm pilots even have spaces between events in lists and calendars- after all, if everything totally flows into each other one after another, why not show it!
In classical form and architectural space, SPACE and FORM unfolded over time, creating an experience that altered the longer one either progressed through it or existed within it. INdeed, in the Renassance and directly after (especially the Anti-Reformation period of Baroque and Rococo Architecture), the designers of the day saw architecture as a form of entertainment as well. However, they saw it as, if not sculptural space, that of a PLAY. Architecture became the lushly appointed backdrops (pieces of static and not so static art in their own right) of the drama known as LIFE. Lawyers, Bankers, Popes, Plebians, these were merely players in the grand play that is life, and as such they had a vested interest in their landscapes, both as places in which to perform their various activites, as well as a a resource from which to draw their inspiration and creativity (oh. and of course to provide a respite from cold, rain, sun, and a place to lay your head), for what actor can work without his props?
of course, over time, the architecture became not just a facilitator or memory marker but the star of the play, and it's architect the great maestro. The people inhabiting or using it no longer mattered. And, as soon as the people no longer matter, neither does the subject in the sense that architecture is for naught but an intellectual excercise without people (as much as WE as architect would like to get rid of them from time to time). Architecture is static and dead in the absence of people. If a building falls in a forest and no one hears, does it make a sound? DOes anyone care? Did the building ever matter? Did it have purpose? (of course, i realize that i'm treading dangerous philosophical existential/aesthetics waters with this "Play" and Theatre analogies, and i don't mean to get too much into that -THIS TIME...)
BUt as an object that unfolds over time, one needs TIME to appreciate it. To wander it's hallways, carouse in it's alleyways, rejoice in it's cameras (GRAND CHAMBERS-it's italian), contemplate in it's antechambers. One needs to exist within it, fojr people use buildings for living in. Is a building a machine for living in? If so, is it a simple machine (as those are the only kind of machine to have been around for thousands of years)? Is it a machine at all, or more like a living organism made up of the sum of it's parts; structural, psychological, physical, skin, soul(humans inhabinting and utilizing)? Does it have a conscience? Can it have moral laws and judgements? Can it expound on those via exposition?
or does it sit silently, a victim to its age and era, perhaps a blank canvas upon which to project ones belief system and post-modern/pre-modern whatever-ness? Can buildings be statementless? Can they just let each person make of it what they wish?
Or do they state an intention regardless?
DO buidings give an opinion?