The RIAI bring out a monthly journal with the catchy title of 'Architecture
, the journal of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland'
and invariably there's stuff in it that really should reach a wider audience.
The president's column, particularly under the hand of current incumbent Sean O'Laoire, is often a happy hunting ground for mischief and this months piece, continuing as it does earlier interwoven themes of recessionary gloom with vineculture, is no exception. There is a suspicion that the column itself may be becomming increasingly fluted, but we leave that aside for the moment to reflect on the substance of the piece.
Essentially, deepening recession and global melt-down are threatening a cull of the architectural profession, of puppy seal proportions, and reflecting this, doom laden biblical references abound throughout the column.
The passages that particularly stand out are these:
[INDENT]''As we watch the demise of hyper capitalism, there's no Messiah on the horizon.
There is now a gaping void left by the dismal sciences that can, and must, be filled by architects and allied thinkers and practitioners. A new landscape''
Like all good biblical passages, this is a cryptic message and requires interpretation.
I will interpret it.
'Messiah on the horizon'
could be a reference to the closing scene in 'Life of Brian' where the Messiah (with a couple of dozen others) was seen nailed up on the horrizon to wooden crosses, perhaps a reference to timber frame construction, we'll come back to that.
Some will see the reference to 'the dismal sciences'
as having to do with the Leaving Cert, but that would be disingenuous, O'Laoire is on a higher level than that.
Third level, if I'm not mistaken. If we see 'the dismal sciences'
in this context, O'Laoire's reference starts to make sense as shorthand for the three primary faculties of higher education; cold commerce
, the black arts
, and, the dismal sciences
'The gaping void'
to be filled (by out of work architects) is nothing less than the whole structure of university education. Hence forth, all university courses are to be taught through the medium of architecture!
Molecular chemists will get to grips with basic building blocks, chartered accountants will calculate in U-values, Philosophy graduates will get a grounding in spacial awareness and mathematicians will finally see things in perspective.
This would indeed be 'a new landscape'
but, just in case, and because in all walks of life, not everyone will be able to keep up with the new architecture of education, some low points courses may be taught through the medium of landscape architecture.
From the very depths of a construction industry melt down, O'Laoire has given us a glimpse of a new promised land, you can almost see the toes of the crosses twitching to ''Don't worry be happy, no need to go to Abu Dhabi''
'Messiah on the horrizon'
, I'm still stuck on that one, who could O'Laoire be thinking of . .