first thoughts

If architecture is to effect change, it must create awareness. 

Proposal: Exploring how Architecture can resonate with and empower a general public by looking at architecture's potential for creating self-awareness through connections to "place.” 


With the growing globalization of contemporary society, the role of the built environment is changing as Architecture increasingly operates as a product—a consumable image that one sees and immediately takes with them. This may be the only way for architecture to operate in a market-driven economy in which most people will only see a building in a photo or magazine rather than visit it. However, architecture still must take authority in creating identifiable spaces for people to inhabit, spaces that are known by feeling and association and that synthesize physical and social contextual environments—places that offer specificity as well as longer-ranging connections in the midst of ubiquitous globalization. 


Can Architecture transcend the boundaries of “image” while maintaining its unique ability to create provocative relationships? By responding to new understandings of how people interact with their environments, can we design places that in fact address the inhabitant’s consciousness of a specific set of contingencies—social, environmental, political? (Can the iconography of a building be the experience of it, its presence—building itself as context rather than simply form?) 


My site will likely be an urban condition of identity crisis, which can help me to set up an environment of potentialities. I would be interested in a site that calls for connection and rootedness, the interchangeability of figure and ground, in need of a synthesis of perhaps not-so-obvious contingencies and contexts. 


The program should offer a resistance of formal against informal, further questioning how Design as a formal art can interact with and enhance public (informal) life. I could see working with a program that is institutional and thus “global” in its function (i.e. museum) but that is simultaneously integrated with public accessibility and use, having a specifically local presence. 

[from may2008]

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