The Figure of the Architect Response

Posing the architect as someone who is always looking for a problem or crisis to solve is a fairly accurate interpretation of urban planning that took place since Hausmann.  Additionally it can be said that antiquities concern with architecture was always one of enforcing hierarchies as in the myth of the Minotaur and the labyrinth.  The architect is a constructor of space but not always a solver of problems, moreover architects can sometimes exacerbate problems as was the case with Pruit-Igoe in St. Louis.  However, to liken architecture to striking a match to watch it burn is a little bit of an over-exaggeration and also does not acknowledge architecture as a provider of essentials.  In that context architecture is striking a match to light the fire to keep the people warm.  In some cases the fire burns down the house (Pruit-Igoe).

The premise of the lecture is that architects engage in the process of responding to constructed images of cities falling apart or social structures in collapse or disorder.  Additionally, the belief that this is a never ending cycle, one that is repeated with every project makes architects out to be the fathers of children who keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again and this could probably be said of society today which engages in ever destructive behavior.  We should then ask ourselves is it our place to try and look out for them? should we concern ourselves with a society in despair?


About mhgoblue

Architecture Undergrad University of Michigan

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