Archive for the Architecture Category
In recent posts I’ve been addressing the apparently irrelevant difference between mental concepts and their names, and reality. Also, how actions like inverting concepts can enlighten some of our previous inaccurate conceptions. This structure of thought is also very usual in the cause-effect approach to phenomena, so for instance, if we don’t know what the solution for a certain problem is, then it’s no use to frame the problem (which avoids the effect of having to face the reality).
Another image that’s been going round my mind lately is that of the jigsaw puzzles.
When we are kids, puzzles are probably one of the first things we learn to do. Very simple first, more complex later, the puzzles demand from us to develop a methodology, some tactics and even some tricks (starting by corners, following with the edges, completing it by parts, and so on).
But there’s a particular moment we all must have experienced, and it’s when you come up with a piece that “almost” matches the gap, but actually is not the right one. No matter how little that “almost” can be, no matter how much we try. We turn it round, we check the colours, pay attention to the shape again. It’s no use: it doesn’t fit. That’s when you realize that you don’t do “a little” or “a lot” of a Puzzle. You know then, for the first time, that either you finish it, or you’ll have failed.
Puzzles are a perfect example for the idea that could be expressed like this: “nothing fits unless everything fits”.
Even more examples: Architecture. See the drawing below: it’s the first (main) floor of Ville Savoie of Le Corbusier. You cannot add or take out any part, room, space, without altering it’s concept or it’s functioning. It reached its utmost perfection itself. If you move even 10cm any partition, they you’ll have to rearrange the whole plan.
We all know our civilization reached this point of accuracy long time ago.
One last example of our everyday life: any trip we have to do: you simply don’t get “more or less” somewhere. And should you get lost in a place you don’t know, you won’t ask for instructions to get as closest as possible to your destination, but EXACTLY to it.
So, if we are so familiar with all these examples of achievement, accomplishment and/or success by fitting every single piece, why is that we accept so acquiescently so many loose ends in our societies?
What’s the problem with societies, that we find reasonable a model of random, chance, linear evolution, with an unpredictable future?
Is it that we are 100% sure that we are moving in the right direction?
Are all of our institutions 100% reliable?
Have we got the guts to stand and ask out loud: “Is this ok? Is this fine with me?”
What could happen if one day, any day, too many of us find ourselves saying: “Hey, this piece does not fit”?
Without noticing it, I suddenly found myself retrieving experiences from the past, or at least, making connections with them.
Lately, in the post “Problems/Solutions – Inversion of terms“, I got in contact with the method of inverting concepts again, as at the University, studying Architecture, sometimes when we were not completely satisfied with some results, we used to turn drawings on tracing paper round, to find out how a layout that had been developed one way, now fitted much better with some of the restrains, just by operating on symmetry of the plan.
What was so surprising was not only the improve in the design, but the unexpected outcome of such simple action of flipping the drawing on one of its axis. This set a completely new relation, for instance, between the variables of the design and the constant factors of site (geometry of plot, neighbour constructions, North, sun, etc.).
This “accidental” method awoke us about how a geometrical operation, which in advance and just by simple symmetry, should not have a major impact, changed substantially our perception of the project and made us realize how little “natural” decisions had to be.
Inversions, thus, apply in many other aspects of our lives, and reveals a completely different approach of the matters we are dealing with.
An example I like is that of the concepts of “strength/weakness”, so commonly used in SWOT analysis by marketers.
Although it’s not that obvious, almost every time the same features that constitute the strongest resource of a company, paradoxically are at the same time, the weakest link.
Think about a car, which designers decided for whatever reason, to provide it with the most powerful engine, that would allow it to reach speeds as double as the usual in the same type of cars. Considered in itself, it could appear that engine is the best advantage of that design, but what happens in terms of fuel consumption, what about the cost of developing that design from conceptual stages to manufacturing. Would it be sensible from a profitability point of view? How will the market respond to such defying design?
I think this is what must have happened with the Concord, as an example of the “most” anything, that in the end didn’t work.
Another example is any sport team. There’s a star player that scores at least a couple of goals in each match. Again, that would clearly be an advantage in terms of winning games. But, quite contrary, the team would be weakened if the rest of the players start to depend on their brilliant mate, to play their game. The team is completely off-balance. What would happen if, for any reason, this player suddenly disappears?
What I’m trying to get at is that having full control of things is not as easy and evident as it might seem, if we wanted durable results, sustainable behaviour, long term success.
The question is then, who wants long term success these days?
(Via THE INTERNET POST)
Did you know that the new World Trade Center tower is being constructed with glass from China and steel from Germany? 1 World Trade Center, also known as “The Freedom Tower”, is not just another skyscraper. It is essentially a national monument. Continue reading