Monday, August 6, 2007

First blog

At hi point Studio and Theory are so similar to me, because they have not obtained their “personality” their individuality….. What they have in common is the “feeling of distance” of a “detached” of my person….. no more meaning to me, that a class
So I start with the same premise that in my studio blog: parting from the definition of blog (weblog) and responding to the call to maintain one, I attempting to keep this “journal” not just as a compilation of “final products of my cognitive process”, but as the process itself; the cognitive process that might lead me to that final product, the stream of ideas and conjunction of thoughts (regardless how stupid, intelligent, simple, profound or irrelevant or transcendental it might be!!!) as well as the final product of this process. In lieu of this:
After reading Susan’s “….Architecture of citizenship” I have found myself mesmerized that she was talking about social issues (not $ocial i$$ue$!)in architecture in the States!!!! (Wow that was new for me! Social issues in the States! Wow!)

I mention this because I have heard many times the concept of social / society / individual or community in the States but they just seam to come from a point “retail point of view": when forces of chance and “progress” are the economics forces, the financial goals with their fundamental origin: selfishness. But the concept of “society” from a position were men (men/women) is the central point of discussion and the final objective, well that is not too common! (not for me anyhow!)
I know this might seem irrelevant for many, but coming from a College where the main intention was not to create the “star architect of the tomorrow”, but to produce “social workers for a society in need”, and after surviving “the frontal crash” when I arrived in this country, a head on crash with culture where I perceived the “architectural profession” as a mercenary……well this is huge for me.
I’m still “regurgitating” all the information that the reading provided, because even tough there is a lot of which I like, a lot of what I was very interested, a lot that was “new in concept” for me, still there were various points of disagreement, misunderstanding and more interesting a catalysis of various other thoughts, other venues that were gestated from it. I will get to there later on!
I look forward to read my classmates blogs.
On other matters, I never have been a “blog” kind of guy, but this certainly has been a very interesting “liberating” experience! (So far… so good!)



Herb Childress said...

Gus, you raise a fascinating question: is architecture, at its core, an artistic expression or a service industry? We don't evaluate doctors on the innovative design of their sutures -- we expect them to sew us back up the way everyone else does, and to get it right. We also expect them to be humane, to listen to us, and to think through numerous options before settling on a course of action.

Another way to phrase this question is whether architecture is a self-directed or an other-directed activity, fundamentally facing inward or outward. I think that differs from firm to firm, but you raise the notion that there may be a cultural "tag" that we can identify through which orientation is most prominent.

Kara Meissner said...

I find it interesting that the two professions, doctors and architects, are being presented together in comparison. I understand this is presented as a discussion of expectations; I just hope we do not expect that architecture will save. I stumbled upon an article on the net recently, it was titled, “Only Architecture, or possibly Brad Pitt, can save us now”. There is always hope.

Decidedly Dissident said...

Good post, and if I may suggest, I think a prime read to aid in covering the questions would be The Edifice Complex. I sometimes find the comparison to doctors troubling- namely, that as a doctor would save a city with a well-placed suture or two, so could an architect's building or two save a city from the evils of suburbia, segregation, etc... I feel that this self imposed messianic sense of duty only further presses the "starchitect" mentality by emphasizing a product from a specific person (much like say, an Apple ipod). How many cities say we'd be much better off as soon as we had a Bilbao! As if this was a panacea to continued poor infrastructure, urban planning, cultural acceptance of laziness (and obesity), etc... A building without a supporting framework (much further beyond interior programming) is a very expensive band-aid for a systemic problem.

As for the culture of selfishness... can that be helped? A painter can paint on pieces of found cardboard... an architect on the other hand has a bit more expensive a pursuit... and therefore has to be in the pocket of the rich.

SMunger said...

Many of the problems with the profession stem from architects, who after years of training, cast aside their expertise, and cave to the pushy client, developer, agency, saying "whatever you want sir, you're the boss".

The role of the Architect should never be that of the simple servant.

I agree that we should not stray too far to the other extreme either. The Architect who seeks to be like the doctor (as Kara Points out) can't be the savior of society. Even when Brad Pitt gets involved.

So if we aren't Rock Stars, Surgeons or servants what are we.

I believe that the role of the Architect should be seen as more akin to that of the lawyer. (Don't laugh).

The role of the lawyer is to provide advocacy for the client, to enable them to navigate the ins and outs of the legal process. Simultaneously, by hiring a lawyer, you are more beholden to the law than before you hired the lawyer, you can no longer claim negligence

Similarly, shouldn't the client, be more beholden to Architecture (with a capital A), then they were before they hired the Architect?
Shouldn't the Architect seek to enlighten his or her client by means of educating them on what decisions can be made and why?
Shouldn't we act as an advocate to guide the client through the conception / design / construction process?

Jaclyn said...

I think the comparison of Architect's to Lawyers is a good one, and not something to laugh at. The girls in the office (the project managers are all female working for a male president - not something you see every day) have all expressed concern that we allow the customers to much input on the final product. This can be argued simply by saying "the customer is always right." However, we girls at the office continue to say that we as Architects have the responsibility of informing the client when their ideas simply do not make for the best possible final product. Unfortunately this leads back to everyone's self indulgence and believing that they are correct and don't want to face the possibility of change. Hence, it seems we always give into the client.

Angelo Logan said...

I agree with the Architect/lawyer analogy. Its a bit more complicated with our profession when you throw in general contractors who may be telling the client they can save money by cutting a few corners. I imagine Architects had significantly more control when they literally guided the design and construction of their projects.