• Who Cares For Non Showy Architecture?

What makes architecture great? Is it in the art pieces, visually appealing forms or the experiences and quality of the spaces thus created that may not strike one at first glance? Is it a balance of both, if there is any?  Are designers concentrating too much on the face value of Architecture and abandoning its very core?

As a student of Architecture, am always amazed by the greatness of Architecture from the East. Japanese Architecture for example stands out not just because of its picturesque nature but the experience one gets from its spaces. Parallels of these works can be drawn from the works of one of my favorite Architects and proponent of organic Architecture Frank L. Wright. His designs borrow heavily from Japanese architecture which he studied in depth. His landscapes, fenestrations, proportions of rooms and more revolve around the user of the space and not the other way. The user is not forced to accommodate the design but rather the design accommodates him. They are mostly simple, true to their purpose non-showy designs with great human experience.

This type of Architecture is usually understated, apart from Wright’s of course, and instead we celebrate Architects that have established supposedly art pieces mostly deconstructive and at times absolute crazy designs that often have no respect to humans.

Asked if he practices showy architecture, Frank Ghery recently responded by claiming that 98% of everything built and designed today is pure shit. They have no sense of design, no respect for humanity or anything else and are just damn buildings. Personally being not very keen on the works of Ghery couldn’t agree more. And of course wouldn’t understand an 85 years old Architect responding with a middle finger to a reporter’s question. But then again its Frank Ghery, he is dedicated to his work, has no publicist, waits for no call from anyone and works with clients who respect the Art of Architecture.

The important question here is what makes architecture great. It’s one question that I may never find an answer in my lifetime and if I happen to, then it would be a subjective one. Is it in the art pieces, visually appealing forms or the experiences and quality of the spaces thus created that may not strike one at first glance? Is it a balance of both, if there is any? How many Architects today aim at creating humane spaces that are still showy? Are designers concentrating too much on the face value of Architecture and abandoning its very core?

 

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