Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Medium of Architecture: Introduction

Here is what I propose. The next series of blog entries will deal with the subject of Architecture. Before I drive myself crazy trying to tackle such a large topic, I want to start with an idea. Specifically, the idea that I came up with while trying to stay awake working at the Calendar Kiosk over a year ago. A utopian-type style of building that would solve much of the world's problems. But I need to go into the various topics that effect building something like that before I actually go into it. So this entry will outline my parameters, give sources for the basis of those parameters, and focus my thoughts on what I need to say.

The issues that I want to look at stem from a blog entry I did in 2007 (April 27th, May 8th) based on a blog entry that Orson Scott Card did that is linked from mine. Here, in outline form, is what I want to deal with:

1. People today live too far away from work and recreation, and rely on technology to bridge that gap.

2. People use their houses as an escape from the outside world, which doesn't always work.

3. The desire for that escape results in major environmental, sociological, and economical damage to our society.

4. That while solutions are certainly possible, it is vital to keep in mind human nature when constructing utopias for people to live in.

5. There are interested parties that strive to keep the current situation just as it is, and profit from what clearly is a deteriorating situation.

Additionally, I want to look at how Architecture affects me personally, from Literature, to actual buildings I've been in. I bring this up because of a book I've been reading, The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton. Also, I want to look at the idea of "Home," and what that actually means.

The book itself actually sat on my shelf for quite a while, since it is something that I normally don't read. I picked it up off the new book table actually around the time that I posted that other blog, but it took me months to realize that I actually wanted to buy it. It sounds, at first mention, like a ultra-boring book. But actually the language of the book, mirroring the speech of the buildings he talks about, is magnificent. It is what philosophers and scientists could only hope to accomplish when writing books about such complex subjects. Botton's gift is his ability to observe the world around him and take from it an emotional response - from the buildings to the parks to even the moss on the sidewalk. If you like reading books such as Walden by Thoreau, then this book must be read. It only makes me want to visit some of these places, for I fear that my knowledge of buildings and the emotions that their architectural makeup actually speak is limited to basic US buildings and the amazing work done in Milledgeville at the beginning of the 1900's. I'll be talking about that, if nothing else.

But, for all the appreciation we give to the buildings around us, we must realize that, like the kingdom of Ozymandias, it is doomed to decay and to pass into dust. What works of magnificence will survive our civilization? Will the Golden Gate stand, like pillars overlooking the Pacific, long after we are gone, or will people stand and marvel at the works of Wright and wonder what it was used for? Or even our own houses? What was home, and should it remain standing for all time, to show what our lives were like, or in nature's way, will it crumble, to turn our world into mystery?

No comments:

Post a Comment