April 25, 2008

In Response to Comments on Mockitecture 101

Thank you Amy. Your article brings up some interesting points. Mockitecture allows ornament of all kinds. In fact, it probably prefers integrated ornament. Integration is not necessary, however, because if applied ornament, say, an image or pattern is funny (ironic/satirical/whimsical) then it has a place. There is no stance on validity in mockitecture. Mockitecture is an equal oppourtunity employer.

In regards to postmodernism as a whole, I prefer to use Charles Moore's definition, not Robert Venturi's. It deals less with the shed (architecture as advertisement) and more with the genre of architecture as art, a medium for meaning:
"1. Buildings can and should speak.
2. Therefore they should have freedom to speak. Functionalism suppressed the idea at which point architecture simply stopped being interesting for most people. But once we admit theat buildings can speak again, we should allow them to be wistful, wide, powerful, gentle, silly, just as people are.
3. Functional buildings, on the whole, were bleak and hostile. Those which replace them must be inhabitable in the minds and the bodies of human beings..."
While I agree that it was foolish to use classical architecture as the basis for their references, for a number of reasons, I do think that there are tenets of postmodernism that were "thrown out with the bathwater."

Graphic architecture has its place, however, in that it is a highly communicative form of building. It is actually very effective because it has the ability to resonate with everyday peoples' experiences. There is nothing to translate, nothing to stop and ponder. If we really aspire to a humanist architecture, we would make references to everyday things in our architecture, not just to architecture itself.

There is a certain irony about the use of the industrial vernacular as aesthetic basis, by a supposed avant-garde which supposedly despises mass production and uniformity. Can the American commercial vernacular hold the ticket to architecture which speaks directly to people about ideas that they can grasp?

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