What is Architecture by Michael Southard

Architecture is old. Old. Like beer making and prostitution old. It is something that has been with us since there was an us. Shelter, dwelling, place making, and architecture were all fused together then – in the old days. Architecture was an unexplainable expression of the people who created it. Now, in the aughties, architecture is not so easily swept under a socio-cultural-politico-economic-anthropological-materialist rug.

Metaphorically speaking.

Something has gotten in between it. Context and structures have drifted apart creating roaming zombies in the place of dwelling. Cosmological order has been attacked by the march of reason, industrialism, Taylorism, and globalization. It is a complicated story involving the suburbs of Levittown, urban renewal, white flight, deindustrialization, Bretton Woods institutions, advances in communication, international travel, nation states, wars, power, and lots of beer and prostitution. Something has happened to architecture. Right?

Is it a case of longing for bygone days that never existed? Was architecture really all that simple way back when? Was the human species any more simple? Yes. No. Both. Contradiction is inherently human and highlights the complexity of the world in which we find ourselves. Talking about architecture is complicated and riddled with contradiction. If trying to dissect it in a straightforward fashion you will be frustrated with inconsistencies. Better to avoid the black and white of what architecture is and embrace a strange narrative that parallels the strangeness of being alive.

Darkness is the proto-genesis of my architecture narrative. In the womb it was dark, warm, and safe. And, inside of the womb, I was inside of me. Also dark, warm, and safe. I was born into a world of enclosure, an echo of the body and the womb. For there to be an inside, a static stable world, there must be an external. A world of light, wind, and flux. This is the beginning of architecture. A world of inborn sensual stimuli. This is the filter by which archetypes arise and go on to inform our emotional impressions of our physical world.

From here, it is all beer and prostitutes.

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