Thursday, June 14, 2007

06.14.07: LESSON 2 – CONCEPT

Pictured above: “sonnenschiff – sun ship” by the Artist Anselm Kiefer

If lesson 1 was about the importance of context in an increasingly global world, less on 2 is about the power and importance of ideas. This probably should be lesson 1, and yes, you could argue that I am only seeing what it was that I came here looking for, which may be true, but none the less, I still feel that the idea is a critically important aspect in architecture.

Yesterday I went to see an exhibit at the Grand Palais titled Monumenta. (pictured above) The exhibit was a collection of work by the artist Anselm Kiefer. It was a very interesting exhibit, and in one the the pieces he talked about the importance of ideas. He said that a work of art cannot be about just form alone, that there always must be an idea present to make it art. This reminded me of a Bernard Tschumi Quote that I came across in some of my reading. Tschumi states that “there also is no architecture without concept or an idea. Concept - not form, as some would suggest – is what distinguishes architecture from mere building.”

I think all of the projects that I have seen this trip have reinforced this feeling in my mind. The more I understood the idea, or intentions behind the work, the more I appreciated the architecture. I think all of the projects that have been discussed here have a certain power and clarity that can only come from having clear architectural intentions. Furthermore, many of the concepts for these projects challenge the building program, site, or expectation of the building. They add a layer of depth and clarity to the project that goes way beyond simply solving the architectural problem. I think in most of the examples I have looked at, and shared on this site, the architect has been very clear about the intention. I think it has to be this way. To look at it another way, as a designer, how can you do something well if you are not clear with yourself about what you are doing?

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