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"it was the violation of commonly accepted rules that made possible the unification of the arts in one bel composto" - The Artist, G Careri
Architecture and the Environment
After reading excerpts by Venturi "Learning from Las Vegas" and by Bauer "Dready Deadlock",I feel invested in understanding social housing or housing developed for the less fortunate. To me notions of place-making need to be abolished.
Environmentally imposing social disparities through redlining and categorizing social hierarchies in space is what causes the socio-economic issues that we have seen throughout American history, most importantly in the crucial post mid-era of the 1950's. Cultivating a culture and embracing a diversity of relations still seems to be an open but not fully developed epoch.
Of coarse everyone wants a home, a large space. To be quite honest, sometimes we may wish we woke up in a palace of stone with Roman or Greek columns and other days we may wish we woke up in the slim tower all the way up in front of Central Park, on a better day we may wish we woke up in a humble condo with a view of the city. Everyone’s taste in living is somewhat irrelevant and mundane when considering the urban density that will continue to grow as we get into the future. Unless we are making moves of living in Mars or desperately calling the apocalypse; urban density is inevitable. In order to prevent serious issues or epidemics of socioeconomic leading to racial discrimination, poverty, crime, distressed neighborhoods etc., we must analyze the ways to introduce an architecture that not only embraces a diversity of relations but provides an aesthetic to equate that.
As for the great Venturi, I am glad I listened to a story this past weekend saying he regretted the statement ‘less is a bore’. To me aesthetics or monumental design is having the opulence or in some cases vulgarity of showcasing or communicating a style or taste. Aesthetics represent the creativity of a designer to represent design, to give it meaning and best of all to distinguish the characteristics of certain environments. Hence, subtle and discreet architecture, many times defined as forms of purity, are the architectures that are embraced and live through history. For example, the architectures of Rome stand out in their aesthetics of decorations and motifs that were productions of man-made ingenuity; the Acropolis, the seven wonders of the world, for better or worse: the Burj Khalifa in the renowned Dubai, the Freedom Tower, the Seagram building.. the list goes on.
To me architecture is defined and makes itself prominent in the environment through its language not through signage. Signage and architectural language are two very different things. Las Vegas, 42nd st and other dense cities in where you find yourself surrounded by the lights of consumerism and culture is appealing to the mind that is looking for a getaway. Hence, the interest in carnivals and festivals that have existed since we can remember. For example, in the 70's Jimi Hendrix's history making musical performance that was apart of a greater ambition to promote peace, unity and culture.
To me architecture is about creating environments through architectural motifs. The columns, the beam, the structure, the stone, the steel, the brick masonry, the transparent glass, "the frosted/glazed" glass, intermingled with program and function allows for moments to happen. The subtle action of understanding materials and construction defines the architectural language in an environment. Natural light, ventilation, the sensual experience that is amplified by the materials allow for an environment to manifest. Signage, like that of consumerism, to me has both a quality of exploiting and embracing design; which to me is what we can learn from environments like Las Vegas.