09 Jun Make the Architecture great again
The United States of America has been a benchmark in architecture since the beginning of industrialization in the past 19th century. From the benchmark Louis Sullivan with the experimentation of the language of architecture for a new technological advance, the skyscrapers, considered the “father of skyscrapers” and “father of modernism”, and with the later great architect Frank Lloyd Wright creating the new language of American architecture, we are in an era of architectural decline where the direction of architecture has been lost.”Every great architect is -necessarily- a great poet. The architect must be a great original interpreter of his time, of his time, of his age”. Frank Lloyd Wright.
The appearance of new skyscrapers thanks to technology, a time when architecture was closely related to technology, gave rise to new concepts of construction, buildings and plastic solutions as a response to the new demand for space in vertical versus horizontal spaces in big cities. These changes are also closely related to urban planning, giving society the experience of space, height and connection where they are going to be experienced.
The architectural language, together with the creation of new building concepts such as the distribution in floor and in relation to the vertical, the first buildings in height still followed the classic language of base, shaft and capital, closing the architectural composition of a building that never before it existed.
In this new concept and in the new American society, Wright began to experience languages where no one had ever experienced before. Keep in mind that there is no architectural tradition in this part of the world, there is no historical basis to guide us as it happens to us in Europe. America is beginning to wake up and does not have a language that identifies it, since the American result is a global interracial mix, mostly European. The result is colonial houses, traditional classical language drawn from the Vitruvius of our late neoclassical tradition.
With this reflection Wright creates the language of American architecture resulting in an excellent career where the architect is part of the understanding of society, composition, and creation of his own identity.
My question, after almost 4 years of working and learning in the United States, where we are today, having the inheritance of great architects studied in Europe who seem to have forgotten the heirs of this knowledge.
After analyzing the work of our American colleagues, evolution, and relating the article fromlast year, I conclude that the industrialization of architecture has made architects behave more like seekers of productivity, profitability and architectural repetition where the architect’s work is completely forgotten. Too much importance is being given to the will of the buyer, without educating him by giving totally absurd products.
As an example, I have found projects where the dining room of the house does not even have an exit to the outside of the private garden because the rooms are there, leaving the plot completely free and unused for the user. Has the location been studied, the orientation of the house and the needs of the user reviewed? or simply this project is repeated, over and over again, to minimize costs, speed and simplicity in not altering anything to avoid regulatory changes that would lead to thinking of a new project.
Well, that’s what my experience is telling me. Architecture has disappeared, leaving only the ability to produce plans, without considering the user, life, much less our evolution. My question is that now that I am 42 years old and I have more than 15 years of experience, has it always existed, and is it that I just realized it now? Or is it that we are losing our identity?
Architecture is not to be understood as a financial, commercial and trend product. Architecture is a trend because it adapts to people; it is financial because it is an asset to present and future; It will be commercial when the particularity of the result of the creation makes it unique and therefore marketable as a work of art.
The lower price of the architect, understood the architect how I think we have to understand it, makes society increasingly see us as people who only make “plans”, but in reality we are the necessary interveners of habitat, city and country creation. People visit cities not to see new people, it is to see our city, our works of art and our buildings. If not why do we have a world-famous Barcelona, so much so that many tell me about Gaudí, the trencadís, among other things. People visit spaces, and these are created by architects. My personal struggle, because it is my passion, is that we continue to be creators of spaces where the value of the architect’s multidisciplinary knowledge is an instrument of creation and continuous evolution to adapt to new ways of life.
Make the architecture great again, has to serve us to follow the path of Wright, who without being a figure like the main ones of now, made with his work the greatness of architecture. Now he’s one of the greats, but at the time, he just focused on doing his job, and that’s being an architect.
Joaquín Fernández, COAC correspondent in Miami, United States.