Architecture has transformed itself greatly in the past decade. The creative works, and always the most controversial, in the profession were once defined by complicated geometric and organic forms. With current trends, and global influence, scale and complexity are measured on a magnitude of greatness beyond the brain's capacity to discern boundary and organic is replaced with mechanically visually scripted forms. For this reason the movement in architecture from 2000 to 2020 can be classified as the Algorithmic Era.
Sometimes one notices new things when they allow their mind to become still.
Today, as I walked around the Silver Lake reservoir, I noticed something for the first time. I've probably walked around the reservoir about +500 times since I've been living in LA. But today, I walked at an unusual time of day, and alone - which isn't typical.
The water is beautiful and sad at the same time. It's as if the water has done sometime wrong and is forced to live inside a jail of 10' high chain link fence. Besides the fact that we are unable to have a clear view of the water, what I noticed, is that there are almost no benches / areas to sit facing the water. 90% of the benches in the reservoir loop face the road, houses, or the meadow. The two benches I did see that have direct views onto the water are inside the meadow, but far away from the edge, across the pedestrian path.
Does anyone else think this is unusual?
Why are we consciously turning our back to the water?
Being near bodies of water, natural or man made, bring positive attributes to people living in a big city like Los Angeles. Areas where we can experience relaxation, calming, healing, and meditative states, just to name a few, are opportunities we can definitely use more of.
I propose we create benches around the reservoir loop that can be used to direct our gaze toward the water and work on getting the City of Los Angeles to remove the fence, in order to have an unimpeded view.
Directing our attention toward our most precious resource, brings awareness and a certain stillness to the busy lives we lead in this great City.
There is a point in an architect's life where the things that were once grafted on paper go through a transition and become reality through being shaped by huge trucks and very tall cranes. At this moment there is a phenomenon of a sketch made on paper is now turning into a building and soon will be in another person's reality. These sketches are more than just communication tools, they are the very hint of objects and places that are people's reality. An unconscious architect may never make this connection; always focused on the objective character of place making. The real beauty and complexity of the profession is truly expressed, and experienced, in the many faceted interpretation of what is made into the place of each inhabitant and casual visitor's experience.
Inherent in the process of making there is an influential entity that shapes one's appreciation of the final product. This element, that distinguishes the general acceptance of an object being either good or bad, is best defined as Craft. With the integration of computer controlled machines there is a blurred line between the classic definition of objects made by hand, therefore, Hand Made. Suspend this discussion for a moment and focus your mind on the fine detail that divides hand crafted from hand made.
Craft is something that is applied to constructed objects and places. It can be the thing that elevates ordinary objects to the universal platform of great design and transcends time and culture. It is independent of the origin of the final product but deeply rooted in the artisan who made the object. Therefore Craft is not something that is applied to an object but the character projection of the artisan onto the object.
To obtain great craft one has to practice a certain level of discipline in their making of an object. Folding thought into skillful cutting and carving of forms measured with precise dimensions will produce an object that is beyond beautiful. Beauty is ephemeral and lost in the 'eye of the beholder'. The definition of beauty changes with time and personal opinion. Where as Craft is something that seems to stand outside of a person's set of values. This is because Craft is not subjective, it's objective and capable of retaining it's character when applied to varying mediums at varying scales.
When a person sits down to project what is in their mind onto the physical environment they have to translate thought into form. The thought, now now transitioning between an etherial world to the realm of realness can go in two different directions depending on the level of care taken during the making of said thought. The direction is formed through Craft and the applied arts of manifestation.