Jan '05 - Jan '07
'You don't fool me - those pretty eyes
That sexy smile - you don't fool me
You don't rule me - you're no surprise
You're telling lies - hey, you don't fool me'
Only very few architects or soon to be, besides the ”˜chosen' ones (the starchitects, of course), have the chance to actually travel around the world and ”˜see' architecture. It is impossible to cover in a lifetime as much as you might wish to, but still.
People are attracted to this profession by pictures. The studies are often based on pictures. We fight over pictures or in a slightly better case, over several pic on the same subject.
Isn't this often shallower then we realize?
Ok, it's not MTV but it's Taschen or Phaidon. What is the difference? What you see is not what you get. Architecture sold as eye candy. I spend my first year of studies spending money on books which, as I now realize, are no use. Orientative pictures never hurt but they won't, under no circumstances, give you any idea about what architecture actually is. When was the last time you read what was written on the opposite page?
One things leads to another and, as we are thought that the nice picture in the magazine is all that in the end matters, let's sell ours in a nice package. The packaging might take more time then the actual project, but that's what sells it, right?! In schools you might often feel it's a rendering and 3d skills contest. Who are we fooling and who is fooling us?
Before I traveled to Paris I was fascinated by the ”˜La Grande Arche de la Défense'. Kind of the modern version of the Arc de Triomphe, strong, with personality and imposing.
Seeing it in real life I found only small fractions of my initial opinion, for which I could have argued with anyone ”˜til he gave me right.
I didn't know that once you climbed the stairs at the feet of the monumental Boulevard that ends with the Luvru you get too see a Cemetery and a walkway that seems to go nowhere. I didn't find in pictures the way time left it's mark on the facades. I didn't find any of the spectacular view that filled me with enthusiasm before.
This will never happen to you with something like Villa Savoy. I can't count the pictures I had seen before but still it was a very pleasant and emotional experience.
And again there were things that pic hadn't shown me before. I'm not sure if I can explain it, it's not only the big things, but elements that won't make a great pic (though they are fabulous) and the feeling of perfection spiced up by some imperfections. The ”˜clumsiness', if I might say so, of some details gave you the sense of how great this house really was and how ahead of its time. It also makes you wonder what Corbusier would do with today's technology.
I'm not arguing about the fact that pic can never give you anything close to the real life, dynamic experience of walking through space. I am only saying that we sometimes forget that we are only looking at pictures and base our opinions upon them.
Sometime they attach floor plans and sections to pics. Does it help? A little. Does it make any difference? Not really. They never answer all of your questions.
Case studies make you realize how shallow you were before and reveal aspects of a house that you didn't catch at the first look. But how many of the architectures you liked did you actually got to study?
I am nervous every time I get too see a building I know from pictures. If I liked it, I go towards it with my best thoughts and hope it will be better then the ”˜printed' version. But you sense it immediately after you walk in whether it really is special or just eye candy. It also shows you whether the focus on the outer shell was the main preoccupation. Only if it takes you by surprise and makes you discover new things it is truly great and worth the bothering.
Vado said ”˜going to a building is like going on a date - you have an anticipation, that may or may not be fulfilled'.
He is right. And here comes the result of so many first dates:
”˜well i went to millenium park in chicago and thought that it was a piece of crap'.