Feb 7, 2014

Speaking with buildings.

The architectural discourse that says that a building should be very versatile in its design in order to accommodate very different necessities over time, without it requiring much modification, if any, is a very useful one. I do find myself, however, not wanting buildings to lose some sort of character and defining traits (be it on the functional/space sense, or the pure looks of a building), since, when you strip away the specificities of a building in order to make it more standardized in a "one size fits all" kind of way, not only does architecture loses its symbolism and impact, but also its soul.

Soulfulness in buildings is I think an often overlooked element of design. Of course a constructions is nota conscious being so how and why would it have a soul? But we, the human being who inhabit it do have some sort of perceptive anemic and energetic state. Call it a physiological reaction, or a spiritual one, we connect and respond to spaces, our sensitivities are tapped and triggered by the stimulus in our surroundings.

So, is abandoning provocative 
and not very adaptable forms and ornaments in spaces a way to escape the inevitable reaction and association that human being give to spaces?
Not at all, inevitable means inevitable, and even not trying to say anything with a spaces says something. Much like in a conversation even silence has meaning, some times more so than words.
Intended or not a building that is speaking is one that has triggers and conveys information to its users, spaces, colors, functionality, architectural elements and styles, all of these elements speak multitudes to a person.
Even a user of the space who perceives him or herself as insensitive to architecture is acting under the spell of the building he is currently using.

People have a respectful, solemn and ominous behavior on churches. Is it culture and upbringing? May be part of it is, but a huge chunk of that behavior comes from the sheer anemic state caused by the architectural characteristics of the building itself; usually a lot of empty negative space above One's head, all visual points oriented to the altar, or preacher's spot, the different levels o heights, the tall windows hat let in filtered light. All of those components, speak in a language that has no words, but that every human being knows.

Surroundings can tap into our hard wired psyche to give specific responses, just like smiling and crying happen almost in automatic. If buildings can talk, we better make them say something good.


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