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"Architecture seems to be entrenched in two equally infertile fronts either naively utopian or petrifyingly pragmatic." - Bjarke Ingels
It's October and we're in the midst of fall and the everlasting love of summer. I just started my third year as a candidate of a Master of Architecture, currently working on the ideas of an Architectural Utopia, perhaps a stem from or influence to Urbanism. I had also told myself that I would not post a blog until the end of the semester. I lied. There are some writings that were done in the past month that will probably never make it to a post because I also lost my phone. That's unfortunate. But here were with ideas and questions, and new interests as I explore this new paradigm in architectural design.
Cities and the past, .... wait, cities have existed forever. Ancient cities and contemporary times, modern cities that have evolved through space, as well as, materials and technology all cultivate an interesting discourse. Our job is to design the best space fit for human inhabitance, activity and interaction. We come to determine materials and scale dependent on the existing environment and its major influences. Temperature, landscape, solar conditions, terrain, and structural competency are all aspects of design that determine our end product. And so we consider the times and cities, today's megapolis and density, urban infrastructure and mass transit. We can look back to the Silk Road and the massive stone walls that were erected in the past as military boundaries of protection for different regions. How we have grown to interact in human civilization all have determined and manifested our built environments. The question then develops into what determines the ancient city? What determines the existing city? And what will determine the future city? What we have learned from the past and from today, that we seek to keep and develop for the future. What works and what doesn't.
There is honesty in the fact that we tend to look for vacation at the beach with the view of the everlasting horizon, or wish to be on a hill with a picturesque view of the mountains. There's something beautiful in that, something tranquil, something convincing of the sensational space nature can create. Then, there's density and urbanity, the diversification of populations in the urban lot, the irrationality of consumerism that works too well to move apart from in today's globalization. So it's important to understand what defines the parameters of human wants, what intensifies our personal interest and allows for comfort, while keeping the stimulating influences of urbanity? Finding the medium between the erratic and tranquil, is yearned to be solved at the urban scale. Some may call the notion of densifying a city with high rises, surrounded by canals and lakes, across from what can be portrayed as the scenery of Venice or on a cloudy day: Amsterdam a Utopia. Others may define the urban scale as Delirious. For it has never been fully understood. Is the overpopulated city efficient for human existence? Delirious would be the terminology for not knowing or incapable of accepting the truth. I would argue the city is not delirious, I enjoy the city, I enjoy the frenzy of not knowing who or what I will walk into. So in essence, I define the city in many ways chaotic; but with a positive cognitive, erratic for its inadequacy but yet so enticing. To me the opposite is complete tranquility, serenity and satisfaction with what has already been determined to be settled.
Again we question human wants for existential and spatial interaction, for experience and continuity of human development. While our work is rather hands on and physical, our methodical process and derivation of concept is psychological, analytical and scientific. Understanding the different characters that make up an environment allow us to interpret space and its nuance. The choice in materiality, scale, and structure are our tools to allow theories and explorations to develop the built environment. Architecture, even urbanism, I would argue is incredibly fertile and serves to manipulate the existing pragmatic and ideals of a utopia.
8. of 4.