Architecture and the Public

World architecture... what's happening generally....

Architecture and the Public

Postby ycarew » Fri Jul 26, 2002 6:47 pm

Hi, i am a soon to be third year architecture student and am in the process of writing a dissertation on the importance of architecture to the general public, ie the non architect.

I have read various surveys pointing out that very few british people can name an architect, and even fewer can match one to a building. I would like to know if any of you have any theories on why architecture does not seem to stand proud as part of our culture, and why people do not love to read and talk about it, yet the architect seems to from the point of view of the public, be the person who designs bad buildings, can people recognise good buidings? or are we as a nation pessamistic when it comes to this? fear of change?

I would also very much appreciate any ideas on where to look for relevant material.

Thankyou very much.
ycarew
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Postby thomas o brien » Sat Jul 27, 2002 4:59 pm

Hmm.. theories on why arkitektur does not stand proud as part of our culture.
I’m not sure that people have no interest in architecture, especially in recent years with shows such as nation building, also people seem to know who Kevin Roche is- at least down around Mitchelstown way. Yet in general there is not the interest in architecture that there seems to be in mainland Europe. On the other hand we (Ireland) might be accused of not having the quality of architecture that interests people outside of the profession, By this I mean architecture capable of causing a bit of hype or sensation, even the new wing of the art gallery ‘a truly international building’ is a bit tame compared to say Daniel Liepskinds proposal for an extension to the (I think) Royal Albert Museum in London. (It’s in A red book in the library Check it out). Now I hear that there is liepskind proposal for Dunlaoighre—which should get chins wagging even before anyone sees it. By the way I do not accuse DL. of being sensationalist yet work of that unprecedented nature will cause a stir. Opposed to this we have the stream of homogenous crap that is the mainstay of Irish arch –the tacky red brick green safety glass couple of pillar office blocks, and the ‘Argos’ magnolia skinned apartment complexes- where the sun shall never shine through any one window for more than five minutes of any given day. I digress……..Yet like it or not this is the anonymous face of the Irish City…. Add to that the bland mock Tudor crap that is filling rural estates and lets not forget bungeylows. I must stop ranting yet, Why must Irish people in the country build their poxy bungeylows smack bang up against the road? Is it the beautiful view of traffic or is it the more sinister aspect of being able to peep out as the neighbours pass…
Where was I? (I never realised I was so bitter ha.) Seriously though I feel that with economic success that we have recently enjoyed there has been a notable increase in architecture, I might be cynical and reason that the emergence of a young trendy professional class is responsible for this new found desire to be cultured, yet there is no reason to believe that the popular knowledge of architecture does not run deeper than the glossy pages of Wallpaper. The fact that the majority of people have little have no interest in ark could be compared to the general publics lack of interest in anything, it’s a cliché by now to talk of general apathy in modern society, and even harder to argue it when one meets people as individuals, yet the fact remains that collectively there is not a whole lot going on with us … who is John Galt? Etc. I think the popularisation of culture in general has created a situation where new and fresh ideas are quickly absorbed into a big dumb stew of various images from which it is difficult to grasp information (crazy talk). For example The Big Brother House is what the public see (are shown) as good design, there are aspects in the house which are good design, or at least were until they were stripped from their original context and all heaped together in what is basically a box. It could be argued that the Big Brother House is the epitome of Modern architecture (or hell on earth).
So what is my theory? – That culture is bland and architecture absorbed into it? Not really. Good architecture in my opinion is like art.. It must ask some moral, political, humorous question or any question really. It must question society. Once people are questioned they can provide their own opinions and theses; thus architecture is absorbed into a big dumb collective as a progressive discussion or image rather than a bland bucket o’crap. Although ‘…Shit asks questions, melons do not…’
…People can recognise good architecture- it’s not difficult
thomas o brien
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Postby ycarew » Mon Jul 29, 2002 12:52 am

Thankyou very much for your thoughtful reply, I do agree with you about the seeming increase of architecture's relevance to the public, I still believe there is something missing though. People dont get fanatical about architecture, there are no ainsley harriots or lawrence llewelyn bowens (both spelt wrong probably) of architecture, ie no household names. Maybe people see the beauty of architecture, but find it easier to appreciate the vernacular qualities of these buildings (hence the mock tudor crap) and so credit is given more to the traditional builder/craftsman.
Unfortunately your reply is cut off just as you were about to explain "shit asks questions, melons do not" so i havent been able to read your full message.
ycarew
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Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2002 6:35 pm


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