the idea and the building

after the studio lottery chips fell, i happily landed in the studio of jay deguchi of suyama peterson deguchi architects titled the idea and the building.

our first assignment write your personal manifesto about architecture, i started with a few quotes that inspire and inform my stance on architecture:

“Spaces can be real or imagined. Spaces can tell stories and unfold histories. Spaces can be interrupted, appropriated, and transformed…” bell hooks, from choosing the margin as a space of radical openness

“Space provides an essential framework for thinking about the world and the people in it” Leslie Kanes Weisman Discrimination by Design

Although a built product is one possible outcome, I do not think of architecture as only a “tangible product’ but rather an ideological understanding, position, and commentary, about space, which is situated within the socio-cultural-political landscape in which it is conceived. I believe that this intellectual landscape is represented in the built environment, and thus architecture is intimately linked to the human condition.

Although I believe in the morphological significance of buildings in cities, I believe that they stand as not only a morphological artifact but a social/cultural artifact. Buildings are not just technical and art objects but they are also social objects in that they are invested with social meaning. As humans who live 90 percent of our lives indoors, I believe that buildings affect human behavior and relations.

All too often these artifacts express a physical representation of a social narrative of dominion…over land, over ecosystems, over culture, people and ways of living. I believe that just as much as the built environment reflects the dominant power structure, architecture can speak to a counter hegemonic narrative and cultural artifact. I believe that architecture can be an act of subversion, resistance and reinterpretation. For me it is a conceptual and material way of viewing, analyzing and influencing my physical surroundings…the urban fabric.

architecture should be responsible to the ecological and social community in which it is built and the benefits of ‘good design’ should not just be for those who can afford it or those in the “mainstream”. I believe that architecture should be ethical, accessible and participatory or at least have a stance on why it isn’t. I believe that architecture can be ephemeral, flexible and have a conceptual, artistic, and social function and still be significant…still be architecture


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