‘Architecture immortalises and glorifies something. Hence there can be no architecture where there is nothing to glorify.’ Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1947.

But maybe the event can glorify the architecture? A blank stage becomes animated through use and play.

‘Space and Time become Place and Occasion.’ Aldo van Eyck

‘Where there is no necessity, there can be nothing to celebrate (a folly is not architecture).’ Colin St John Wilson

If a building is designed not with an intended use, but an intention for use: when is it architecture? A building with only a potential for use, but not a current use, also only has the potential for architecture, for the use ‘glorifies’ it and transforms it from empty space into architectural space. But is it architecture which makes the potential uses possible?

‘This Great Age… bereft of imagination, where man is dying of spiritual starvation while having no feeling of spiritual hunger.’ Karl Kraus

We are in danger of letting the computer become the designer and the architect merely the enabler. We will become just like the hand in the drawing process: crucial yet limited (as we cannot draw without it but are restricted by its sensitivity and dexterity), and ultimately without creative control. We move the mouse and input the numbers, checking and editing constantly, and then we step back.

The sterilising effect of digitalising a creative process in this way is much like the conversion of an analogue recording to digital: no matter how high the sample rate, there are still in-between parts which are edited out and, as numbers are rounded up or down, tiny changes are made through necessity and ambiguities are lost. There is no ‘noise’, or ambience, and a key means of expression is gone. 

How can a space be for people if it was designed by a machine? We are more than statistics and parameters. We are emotions and sensations, irrational reactions and affections, fears and sensitivities, prejudiced perceptions. And so a space is more about the feeling of things, and the highest quality rendered perspective of an interior will never show as much as a hastily scrawled concept sketch, the idea anchored by paper before it can evaporate.

Designing should be about the passion of the moment when inspiration hits, with all the mess of intimacy: ink staining your fingers, the pen carving a ridge on your knuckle, smudges and slips sparking new creativity. There is joy in the accidental, as you affect the material and, crucially, it affects you.

Computers are distancing us, taking the fluidity out of design by putting up barriers that block and slow the flood of ideas, pushing architects further and further away from the design: we are losing touch, literally.

I’ve always had very vivid dreams and can nearly always remember them when I wake up. The places are always stronger than the events. Sometimes they are places I know (often slightly changed and therefore disorientating) but sometimes they seem to be completely invented by my subconscious mind.

I know that it’s often tedious to hear about other people’s dreams, descriptions of which tend to make little sense to anyone other than the dreamer. So I decided to draw my dream places, mainly because I think this is more interesting and a simpler way of communicating, but also as much-needed practice at drawing from my mind.

Last night I dreamt I was walking through Cardiff, looking for my hairdressers before becoming lost and then distracted by ice-cream:

Fancy dress parties are always a brilliant excuse to make pretty things.

For a Burlesque themed party I’m going to on Saturday I made this fascinator:

 

Every part of me longs for feelings and excess. I feel thirsty for life and yet not quite willing to jump in. I feel like running, arms spread out and hair flying, screaming as if I want to use up all of my voice and all of my noise, happiness in every inch of me and the wind on my side, into a brick wall or off the edge of a building- just as the feeling gets too much.

I want everything and nothing, to be everywhere and nowhere.

I don’t want to settle; I don’t want the inbetween and the flat anymore. I embrace the lows just as much as the highs, because it’s real and it’s there and I am here, in my place, and the wall is down.

I feel flighty: the peace has gone. The slightest pinch and I am back on that roof, or that bridge, by the edge, balancing. But then the merest touch and I am flying again and the green is so green, the blue is so blue, the red is too red.

‘I want to go off into these woods and get good and lost for a while.’  (Be Safe – The Cribs)

There is a subtle difference between appreciating something that is ‘everyday’ and appreciating something because it is so. The former is genuine- coincidental, instantaneous, uncensored. The latter, however, is self-conscious, often ironic or an assertion of ‘individuality’: an apparently different way of being different.

This ‘anti-taste’ can stem from a kind of inverted snobbery and a wish to be seen as removed from the modern and impersonal, in the same way that artistic types shun high-street stores in favour of charity shops and vintage markets (ironically, these stores then sell cheap faux-vintage fashion to the masses).

And there’s the rub: the line here is sketchy and shaky, so how do you distinguish between what is genuine personal taste and what is a carefully crafted style?

I write this sitting in my brown vintage jumper, feeling hypocritically indie, only almost certain that this is me; as soon as something becomes a fashion, it loses integrity, its sincerity gone.