Thursday, 26 July 2012

"Everything is Architecture" - Hans Hollein

'Architects have to stop thinking in terms of buildings only. Built and physical architecture, freed from the technological limitations of the past, will more intensely work with spatial qualities as well as the psychological ones. The process of erection will get a new meaning, spaces will have more consciously have haptic, optic and acoustic properties. A true architecture of our time will have to redefine itself and to expand its means. Many areas outside traditional building will enter the realm of architecture, as architecture and “architects” will have to enter new fields. All are architects. Everything is architecture.' 
-Hans Hollein, 1966
Amen to that!  What a dictum, it is reassuring that great architects such as Hans Hollein were positing nearly half a century ago! As we've repeated here on this blog several times, Architecture is not just buildings but a process, a discipline, a way of doing. As architects we are trained to see the architecture in all things. Learning to see Architecture in things is the building blocks of creating architecture. Architecture is a psychological and cognitive act first, long before anything becomes manifest...some of these cognitive acts are part of the oldest parts of our brains, evolved from the ancient impulses that drives all life to shelter, hide, dwell, hibernate, nest, burrow, protect, rest...the results of these impulses build upon the results of the previous generations and species. It has been happening since the very first life form existed on the planet. A long cyclical evolutionary path of Architecture has been unfolding stemming from the basic impulses and instincts that govern the growth of life...
Everything is architecture and as architects we must learn to see the architecture in all things not just buildings. Learning to trust our intuitive faculties is imperative to this. It is intuition that guides us into architectural solutions that deal with the ordering of the highly complex, science and technology then quickly becomes a powerful allies in illuminating and revealing what intuition was pointing us towards.
Look for the architecture beneath, listen for it in a piece of music, sense it in a piece of poetry, feel it a dance, see it in a painting, contemplate it in the cosmological, observe it in your own perceptual faculties. 

Images from Hans Hollein, who inspired this post.. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Fuelling the Architectural Mind-set: Frank Lloyd Wright Contributions to Graphic Design

Frank Lloyd Wright’s contributions to architecture are well catalogued and any course on contemporary architecture would be incomplete without noting some of his built work. However his graphic work is lesser know and also highly compelling. Following on from my previous post regarding architectural graduate shows where we witnessed the development of graphical dexterity in exploring architectural ideas,  I’d like to continue the thought upon the importance of graphical disciplines to a practicing architect.

Wright explored many themes and architectural ideas within his graphical work, this clearly becoming a place for experimentation and further cultivation of his immense creativity.  It’s clear to see how rug designs, stained glass patterns and other ornamentation were explored through drawing and graphics but it’s less clear to understand how the graphics would have influenced his architectural thinking and vice versa. For me many of these images illustrate a process of how Wright’s reverie for the natural world becomes manifest into architecture. The ability to interpret organic form into abstract compositions with clear rhythms and structure is clearly an important step towards later architectural solutions. It is interesting to speculate upon other great architects of the last century such as Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto who also had extensive forays into other disciplines, (including painting graphics and vase making) which they often credited to greatly assisting their architectural thinking.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s contributions to typography, graphic design, poster, book and mural art has been comprehensibly documented and illustrated in the book Frank Lloyd Wright: Graphic Artist.