Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Modernist Ideology: Theses I - X

Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it,  the following theses will be put forth for public discussion:

Thesis I

Architectural form does not "follow", it is not a "result"; rather, for good
or ill, form is the physical manifestation of desire, thought and emotion
proceeding from the human mind.

Thesis II

The art of building must be primarily a locational phenomenon, not a
temporal one. Architecture should strive to be first and foremost "of its
place", utilizing locally available materials, considerate of local customs,
in harmony with the local climate and ecology.

Thesis III

It is clear evidence of a lost, amoral society in utter cultural decay that
designs and constructs homes to last for a single generation only.

Thesis IV

The minimalist mantra of "less is more" together with a reductionist,
"efficient" machine aesthetic has resulted in a sterile, cold, unfeeling
built environment. Intelligible it may be, yet devoid of sense it is only
capable of producing stillborn, lifeless work.

Thesis V

There is a misconception that modern industry and technology are the
"avant-garde", progressive future of architecture. Yet industry and
technology are responsible for our present urban environment, having
achieved dominance in the Western world well over a century ago.

Thesis VI

The contemporary architectural community leads the conversation in energy
efficiency whilst continuing to promote materials and systems that require
anywhere from dozens to thousands of times more energy than the traditional
solutions they supplant.

Thesis VII

The baby boomers of the 60's and 70's generally lack a true philosophical
understanding of "radical", as in "having roots" i.e. "radish" or a return
to origins as used mathematically.

Likewise they misinterpret the fundamental meaning of "revolution", the
concept of "rolling back". The idea of continuous upheaval as a positive
vehicle for progressive change is a failed product of Modernist thought.

Thesis VIII

Our industrialized society is wholly dependent on hundreds of millions of
years of accumulated energy that are being squandered in a matter of
decades. Once that precious, potentially enduring resource has been
exhausted, traditional solutions will reemerge.

Thesis IX

Clean is code for a sparse, minimalist design bereft of craft, cleansed of
ornament, devoid of the polluting evidence of the human touch. A product of
industry, possible only with the precision of the machine.

Thesis X

Contemporary architectural education is heavily reliant on computer assisted
calculation leaving practitioners largely innumerate, with little practical
understanding of number in space (geometry), number in time (harmony) or
point, line, plane and 3D symmetries.

Contributed by Patrick Webb