M A D I S O N _G R A Y | deep_SIGHT
We isolate ourselves to stay away from ordinary thought or the state of the art as it currently exists. ---Jim Jannard
A film is the world in an hour and a half. ---Jean-Luc Godard
Architecture is the stageset for the drama of life. ---jef7rey HILDNER
ARCHITECTURE: Not just space and light
A conversation with a wonderful non-architect friend inspired me to write the following reflections on Substance and Significance and the nature of architecture's identity...
It's a familiar refrain. The refrain of the anti-visual and anti-intellectual. An architect is quoted in the newspaper as saying that architecture is about space and light. Setting aside for a moment the deeper issue of what architecture is truly "about" (i.e., its sustaining poetic/intellectual/formal-spatial structure or controlling ideas), surely space and light are important. But no more so of course---nor are they any less physical really---than the structure of elements and surfaces (walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors, columns, and so forth) that define, and are defined by, space and light.
I would put it this way: Architecture is the art of making places to be (the original meaning of the word building is "to be"). It involves a complex chess game between Form and Content (what I call Move and Meaning)---a "game" that is ideally beautiful and magical, stirring us with emotion, humility, and awe. Forcing us to reflection. At its most basic, visual-physical level, it involves opaque, translucent, transparent, and atmospheric materials. These materials are engaged in structuring the dialectical dramas of our lives, including movement/rest, inside/outside, up/down, left/right...here/there. And they are involved, therefore, in the choreography of artistic devices that defines, ultimately, the solid and void of human experience. In other words, architecture involves the crucial interplay between the positive of Significant Form and the negative of Significant Space---seen in light. And in this way architecture gives physical, visual, and mental structure to the continuous landscape of forms, spaces, and surfaces---the Figures and Fields---that define the poetic-pragmatic framework of human action and dwelling.
This, I believe, comprises the substance of architecture. And that's what I work on.
A D D E N D U M | 8.7.2001
Trying to define architecture is an important ongoing thing for me. After all, how can you make it if you don't know WHAT IT IS????...+ finding out what it is is key to unraveling the mystery of it's making. Here's the way I put it (as Jef7rey Hildner, that is) at the launch of this website on 9.9.99 (see surface_7 ARCHITECT). It's in the context of a line by Robert Slutzky in his essay, "Re-Reading Phenomenal Transparency."
Slutzky wrote:
"All art tends towards structuring the contradiction between that which appears and that which signifies, between form and meaning."
I wrote:
"Architecture is the assertion, however unreflective or conscious, of an aesthetic system and the plastic and philosophical/ontological values that sustain it. In advanced architectures, as in the advanced aesthetic system of Mondrian's paintings, the plastic system (visible form) and the intellectual premises (invisible meaning) are highly refined and lucid---"The modern artist is the conscious artist," declared Mondrian---and their interrelationship, ultimately inextricable, resonates with the unmistakable authority of Significant Form and Significant Space. The work of surface_7 ARCHITECT involves more than the surface aesthetics of material and light. It involves the sub-surface of architecture's visual and metaphysical structure. It is engaged in the complex chess game of FIGURE | FIELD & MOVE | MEANING---towards the making of significant buildings of unexpected magnitudes for human inhabitation."

And here's how I expressed related ideas---I was obviously in a WAY transcendental frame of mind, wouldn't you say???---on the same date (see deep_SIGHT main page):

"Ultimately, all architectures we call great, let alone all those we call serious, are involved with some aspect of a single problem. It is this: How can we make in this world a significant place to be? (The original meaning of the word "building" is "to be.")  How can  we construct an enduring dwelling place, a shelter from the ordinary and the unbearable, a refuge for contemplation and invention, a precinct of poetry and order, a sanctuary for imagination, study, work and rest? How can we establish foundations, for a paradise regained . . . or reveal a local habitation and an unexpected name? How can we structure the solid and the void of human existence, the visible and the invisible, make manifest the ardent will to form and the relentless demand to mean, and realize the presence of transcendent architectures that illumine the mind and move the heart, that uplift the eyes and transform the soul? How can we make of building art? How can we make of architecture the problem of being? How can we disclose the edifice of the world . . . through exquisite reflections of beauty and intelligence in inhabitable form? Architecture---reinforced and expanded by lessons learned from other arts---presents limitless possibilities for research into the problem of significant form and significant space. "
Now I'm beginning to think, in addition to all this stuff, that it could be also said real simple:
Architecture/An architecture is the world in an hour and a half?
I like the sound of it, but I doesn't really make sense. Still, it's a start. I think I'm on to something. How 'bout:.
Architecture is the world in a block and a half?
I dunno...
Architecture is the world in inhabitable form?
Odd in a way, of course, but I like it. It's got 7 words. Yes, that's it for now:
Architecture is the world in inhabitable form. JEF6.9347REY HILDNER 8.7.2001
A D D E N D U M | 8.10.2001
These 7 words also ring true to me:
A building is the world between walls.  JEF6.9347REY HILDNER 8.10.2001
As do these 6:
Architecture is the world between walls.  JEF6.9347REY HILDNER 8.10.2001
In light of Le Corbusier's description of the Acropolis in Towards a New Architecture (1923):
"The elements of the site rise up like walls panoplied in the power of their cubic coefficient, stratification, material, etc., like the walls of a room . . . The Greeks on the Acropolis were animated by a single thought, drawing around them the desolate landscape and drawing it up into the composition."
---maybe it could be expressed this way:
A D D E N D U M | 8.11.2001
And these 10-word Hitchcock takeoffs ("A movie is real life with the dull parts cut out") work for me, too:
Architecture is real life with the dull parts cut out.  JEF6.9347REY HILDNER 8.11.2001
A D D E N D U M | 8.15.2001
I think this is it:
A D D E N D U M | 9.1.2001
alternatively, having now stumbled onto Film Architecture: Set Designs from Metropolis to Blade Runner by Dietrich Neumann (1997)
Architecture is the world in a building. JEF1.14.2002RY HILDNER.


Architecture is a pure creation of the mind. _Le Corbusier


.Hit Counter

http://www.theARCHITECTpainter.com Web site 2002 JEF7REYHILDNER theARCHITECTpainter.com | New York, New York USA All rights reserved