Language and Architecture: Locating the Event
A number of trends exist in architectural practice. These range from the continuing process of globalization, the media attention placed on architects that encourages differentiation, and the continued dominance of the icons that result in the need to grapple with the productization of space, prefabrication, and affordability. In discussing these concerns, architects, critics, and theorists often speak directly to the current problem and the way that the primary parties frame it. They rarely look at the broader theoretical foundation on which the architect may have built their practice and how that theoretical foundation is playing out in the present work. In the process, criticism and interpretation run the risk of remaining confined to a particular realm of the world, how we inhabit it, way of talking about building, and capacity to get something out of the space in which we live. In this sense, conversations often reference a small subset of discourse without considering the expanded field that determines the conditions of that subset. This conversation fails to take into account the series of translations that take place between different levels and spheres of discourse, material flows, political authorities, subjectivities, temporal structures, purposes, ends, and frameworks of judgement that together have profound consequences on how we conceptualize space, inhabit it, and encounter something called architecture along the way.
The consequence of this omission is that we often find ourselves confronted with an investment that has been made in something that the owners and builders consider to be architecture, but that those who will ultimately inhabit it do not like. This is essentially a situation where a particular collection of subjects do not want to live their lives within the sway of a particular architect author. While one could say that they should just escape to another locale, doing so runs the risk of negating a particular investment as well as opens the possibility of a broader disjunction that could exclude a vast range of people from a capacity to influence how the space they inhabit is designed. Further, by cutting off people from determining what is architecture, it opens the possibility that the work of architects becomes increasingly focused on problems that are internal to architecture and divorced from the problems of people. If the works of architecture are intended to serve some higher purpose and function in an elevated manner for the inhabitants, it also cuts people off from such contact and how that contact can function for us all.Read Essay