Everyone has an opinion; you’ve heard the cliche linked to this saying and are now snickering right? This will get to the topic of architecture – I promise.
My opinion today, as the year comes to a close, is that I am tired of lazy negativity from people who complain about everyone and everything simply because they can sit back in their over-stuffed La-Z Boy Chair at 2 AM complaining about the world on Facebook and other forms of social media because it doesn’t cater to them.
You might be accusing me of the same crime, but I’m in search of intelligent discourse. Feel free to disagree, but do so in a civil fashion. I’m all for critique, debate and discussion and even differences of opinion. That’s good and it can be healthy.
This is how things move forward. This is how things change for the better.
The solution is NOT in sitting back and being a complainer about everything because some change doesn’t make your personal life better. Maybe a good idea or change will make someone else’s life better, but not specifically yours. Does that grant you privilege to spew mindless, misspelled drivel onto someone else? Selfishness, greed and reluctance to see others thrive does no one any good.
It was Churchill who gave us the quote “Never engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man.” Therefore, in order to discuss the power or architecture around us, we cannot lower ourselves down to the level of every critic. People do not like change and in our built environment, these changes ought to spark debate. People ought to notice what is being built (and destroyed) around them and they must voice their (informed) opinions in a manner that has the power to effect change. We have become complacent in our acceptance of our built environment because we don’t know how to talk about it and we’re too self-centered. People often prefer architecture that is nostalgic and fits their owner personal taste. Therefore, change is not tolerated, yet we only go to places that are new. Inconsistent logic prevails like useless shows on TV.
How do I address this as an architect? I first worry about me. I’m committed to doing my best with every project, every drawing, and every proposed work. Am I the best? I don’t really care. Have I done MY best at that particular time and moment within the abilities and constraints in which I live and work? The answer has to always be yes; I can’t live with anything less. I’m sorry, but I’ve seen and heard too many ill-conceived or lukewarm proposals from architects recently. I’ve also read too much hype and drivel on the internet as well. Who hasn’t seen or read about our cranky Santa Monica architect friend and his first amendment right exercises? That got everyone talking right?
Hopefully tomorrow I’ll post my ongoing questions about architecture that I’ve developed after writing this blog for the past four years. In the meantime, I offer two current but opposing articles that are begging for ongoing discourse about architecture. I have yet to form a solid opinion, but these authors are endeavoring to discuss architecture globally by suggesting the critical issue(s) of what is architecture’s role or more importantly, what is the architect’s role.
I’m not siding with either yet, but they are passionate in their efforts to state their position. Perhaps they are slinging mud from their chairs or perhaps their method is intended to get us thinking. You decide – just think and think deeply.
- How to Rebuild Architecture, by Steven Bingler and Martin C. Pedersen, 15 December 2014
- The New York Times Versus Architecture, Bingler and Pedersen critique the profession in “How to Rebuild Architecture.” By Aaron Betsky, 23 December 2014
Are there better examples of contemporary discourse? Take a look on social media and you’ll drown in options for consideration.
However, your voice in your community is more relevant and more powerful. Join in a discussion, but do it well. It just might make a difference. This coming year I have been given opportunity to lend my voice in a public forum and into the ears of someone who can take it to a public forum. Hopefully my words will be generated with the same level of expectation that I have of my work.