Architecture is changing today at an alarming rate. We see many architects unemployed and the remaining architects being marginalized by…everyone and everything. It’s a sort of Darwinian experience as an architect; somewhat our fault perhaps. What is architecture today? Have we learned what it is yet, not just to us, but to the public? Then, if we know what it is, how should we make it?
We produce architecture differently than we did just a few years ago. I started my career with only a pencil and a drafting board. When I was in school, we had movements, “isms”, and other ways to characterize architecture. It may have been shallow, but we thought we understood what we were doing. We started drawing on computers, lines and squares. But now that is changing and the data we enter is no longer a line or a square, but an intelligent piece of information, linked to specifications and schedules. Yet it still looks like a square on the screen.
Today we must be ‘green’ for a multitude of reasons, some good, some not. We are searching for architecture of relevancy, yet we’re all just working on whatever comes in the door, hoping it will be meaningful. We have owners that don’t understand our process for a variety of reasons. Codes and regulations put pressure on us to design within a complex world of stipulations that often are in conflict with each other and often outside our budgets. The recession has limited what projects are even available or will be available. So where are we?
I saw this video where world renowned architect Peter Eisenman talks about architecture today in this short clip. He doesn’t strike me as optimistic, but perhaps a realist.
I remain an optimist, perhaps a lunatic. Should we do as Peter states, “get ready for a time when there is a possibility of making architecture again?” What do you think and are you ready?
update 09.22.11 see full interview at ArchDaily’s page. It certainly raises many other questions. Do you agree with Mr. Eisenman?
top photo is from bupowski’s photostream on Flickr (used under the Creative Common License)