This post is part of a coalition of architects posting on a single topic, each interpreting it in their own way, known as Architalks. This month the topic is “Homecoming”

I find the topic of a homecoming rather…disjointed…for an architect.  I can’t think of a literal analogy for it in my career, with then pushes me into thinking of it figuratively.  Home, being the safe, warm place one retreats to made me consider my intellectual refuge where I often find solace amidst the realities of this career.  When confronted with the banality of the profession, the overwhelmingly prosaic, the debilitatingly formulaic, I often revert to my first learned theories.

We work in a time where architectural theory is in decline.  We think in ‘systems’, not in processes.  There is an obsession with explicit solutions, technical achievements…green roofs and photo-voltaic curtain walls can be more important than human spaces and an appropriate sense of scale.

When I feel overwhelmed with this, I revert back to my educational years and remind myself again and again how to think about architecture.  How architecture isn’t just a derivative product of Archdaily images, nor is it assembly of Sweets catalogue pre-designed building components.  It is a process of innovation and discovery.

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“Architecture and war are not incompatible. Architecture is war. War is architecture.I am at war with my time, with history, with all authority that resides in fixed and frightened forms. I am one of millions who do not fit in, who have no home, no family, no doctrine, no firm place to call my own, no known beginning or end, no “sacred and primordial site.” I declare war on all icons and finalities, on all histories that would chain me with my own falseness, my own pitiful fears. I know only moments, and lifetimes that are as moments, and forms that appear with infinite strength, then “melt into air.” I am an architect, a constructor of worlds, a sensualist who worships the flesh, the melody, a silhouette against the darkening sky. I cannot know your name. Nor you can know mine. Tomorrow, we begin together the construction of a city.”   -Lebbeus Woods

“The new park is formed by the encounter of three autonomous systems, each with its own logic, particularities and limits: the system of objects, the system of movements and the system of spaces.  The overlay of the different systems thus creates a carefully staged series of tensions that enhances the dynamism of the park.”  -Bernard Tschumi

“At the beginning of the century, architecture and the arts tried to wipe the slate clean.  Modernists claimed to destroy the bourgeois patriarchal nature of ornament and spatial organisation by creating spaces without any historical traces.  It was to be made difficult, as Walter Benjamin wrote, to “leave traces” because traces will go against man as they force upon him a pattern of habit…”  -Dagmar Richter

“Cubes have always been prehistoric.” – Daniel Libeskind

“Experimental political systems are those that embrace short-term provisional hypotheses, incomplete information, and inevitability of uncertainty.  High rates of change are facilitated by the reduced investment in ideological infrastructure.” -Krueger and Kaplan

“I have used the term ‘Nature’ within my theory…This means a departure from the concept that architecture is a product of reason.  It should be a substance entirely separate from other matters.  Indeed, architecture should generate a place for people to live as a part of nature which lies in human consciousness…”  -Itsuko Hasegawa

“The designed space integrates from the beginning the necessity of displacement.  The spectator is not static, the point of view changes and that sensation of space is transformed.  The displacement and the increase of stable points s points of view generates a dynamic vision of space.  That variation of converging lines and perspectives creates permanent tension.”  – Odile Decq

“I think it is no wonder that there are students escaping into the ivory tower of theory, because architecture nowadays is occupied by architects just building neutral spaces for development.”  -Wolf Prix

“…No longer is the domain of the ‘theoretical’ stationed solely in the realm of drawing, nor that of formal manipulations and constructions.  It is in fact occupying a much less discernible space between those realms.”  -Hani Rashid

“We are all more and more aware of ephemerality, of these notions of how the world exists, and the more you area ware of ephemerality, the less you can believe.  It affects how you use these ideas because you become hyper-aware of the fact that these ideas are going to be shifting and you couldn’t commit yourself to them the way you could two or three centuries ago.” -Thom Mayne

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Check out the other bloggers who have written on this topic:

Matthew Stanfield - FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
Coming Home to Architecture

Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
looking back i wonder

Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Coming home as an architect

Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
homecoming, and looking back: #architalks

Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
9-11 -- A Look Back

Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)

Michael Riscica AIA - Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Homecoming & Looking Back

Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Homecoming Memories

Emily Grandstaff-Rice - Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Letter to a Younger Me

Drew Paul Bell - Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
Looking Back...Was Architecture Worth It?

Kyu Young Kim - J&K Atelier (@sokokyu)
Homecoming, in 3 Parts

Nisha Kandiah - ArchiDragon (@ArchiDragon)
Just give me a reason : Homecoming

Jim Mehaffey - Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Is It a Homecoming If You Never Left?

Mark Stephens - Mark Stephens Architects (@architectmark)

Gabriela Baierle-Atwood - Gabriela Baierle-Atwood (@gabrielabaierle)
My Ode to Fargo

Jane Vorbrodt - Kuno Architecture (@janevorbrodt)
Looking Back Through the Pages


08 2017