Sleepless in Shenzhen

Everything Minded

  • anchor

    An Unimportant World Without Architecture

    Orhan Ayyüce
    Mar 29, '18 9:00 PM EST

    “Realistically, the rest of the world just doesn’t see architecture as being as important as architects do” – Anonymous

    The real worrisome emptiness in these kind of statements is not the usual lamentation of the profession itself but the world’s failure to understand what architecture is. If the society can afford to see architecture as unimportant, the city, spatial experience, well being, culture, infrastructure, politics, social science technology, economics and growth.., then, are they unimportant? What is important? A dead society sucking on reality shows everywhere?

    Realistically, the rest of the world should be just so goddamn grateful that at least architects think architecture is important.



    • awesome.

      Mar 30, 18 5:11 am

      We have presented architecture as an idealized and elitist anomaly within the built environment, when it should be presented as the study of the built environment in its entirety.  Architecture is too often virtue signaling in built form.

      Apr 3, 18 4:13 pm

      Examples of your insipid "virtue signaling" architecture, because whatever garbage you're reading, burn. it.


      I’m saying that “architecture” is presented to the public as a “virtuous” anomaly in a sea of trash...a point of light in a bleak if the “everyday” built environment isn’t within the realm of architecture.

      ^^^“Realistically, the rest of the world just doesn’t see architecture as being as important as architects do”


      Because the public doesn’t understand that without architecture we are basically hunter gatherers with smart phones.


      We have narrowed the meaning of the term for multiple reasons. If architecture where an umbrella term that encompassed the entire built environment, that would be a much more powerful thing. If you were to ask people “is the built environment important?” 100% would say yes. The term architecture should be interchangeable with “the built environment,” but when people hear architecture they think of the anomalous buildings. Bad PR, semantics, etc...


      "Architecture is too often virtue signaling in built form."


      Yes, because architects have a sense of virtue that they express in their work and/or their praise/contempt of buildings and places. Not saying that the ideals behind it are right or wrong, or good or bad, but the work that’s celebrated is the work that expresses the values that the architect wants to attach to, and often there is a moral undertone to those values. For instance, “blurring the public and private realm” is a thing Ive heard a million times in academia as a positive trait. Not saying it’s not, but never in my life has a client expressed that they want this. Most often they want to maximize privacy which is often seen as negative by academia. The public has completely different values because their exposure to the built environment is limited, more pragmatic, personalized, and emotive, whereas an architects is more broad, technical, philosophical, and intellectual. Essentially, we are experiencing the world differently. We don’t really try to understand the values of the public in a scientific and nuanced way because we often/sometimes delegitimize their experience and elevate our own as if it is morally superior. I blame the “ornament is crime” way of thinking. Not just is ornament dumb, ugly, or useless, but its a crime which implies it’s immoral. There are many many examples. “Honesty of materials” implies that something like veneer is dishonest, which is immoral. Our experience of architecture is not superior, it’s just more informed. Our knowledge of architecture is superior but not our experience of it. Is a child’s experience of the grand canyon less important than a geologists? Of course we should listen to the geologists expert opinion over the child, but experientially they are both valid. To engage the public, which is important imo, requires less contempt and more listening and analysis.


      "Realistically, the rest of the world should be just so goddamn grateful that at least architects think architecture is important."

      I beg to differ, but this kind of self-importance is but one of the reasons the general public think that architecture is useless. 

      Apr 3, 18 4:55 pm

      Is it self-importance, or taking ourselves seriously? We could stop caring tomorrow, but then what are we? Who are we responsible to, and for?


      It is good to be taking ourselves seriously. But that is no different from any other profession. It doesn't set us apart.


      of course it's good architects take architecture seriously. it's our job, just as librarians should take libraries seriously.

      The emphasis is not so much about "self importance of architects" but about "importance of architecture."  

      Apr 4, 18 5:04 pm

      Art and architecture have shifted from something that can be read/appreciated on many levels, to something that requires an intellectual prerequisite to appreciate. I’m not advocating “dumbing down” or returning to some “traditional” shit, but designers should try to consider/imagine/understand the experience from different perspectives. I think that’s where the disconnect is. People love architecture, just not really new architecture. Ask the tourism industry.




      Why ugh?

      With the shit that's being passed off as architecture it's no wonder that people could care less.

      Apr 5, 18 12:50 pm

      In many ways, this.




      Apr 15, 18 1:29 am

      Block this user

      Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

    • Back to Entry List...
  • ×Search in:

About this Blog

Orhan is blogging his thoughts and impressions late at night.

Affiliated with:

Authored by:

Other blogs affiliated with Orhan Ayyüce:

Recent Entries