THINKING BEYOND BUILT WORK
L. Kahn, Salk Research Institute, La Jolla, CA; 1965
If we look back at the history of architecture we feel dazzled by the human capacity of creating perfect shapes with deep meanings since ancient times.
One of the first stone work, the step pyramid of Zoser in Sakkara (2680 B.C.), symbolizes the conceptionlife of that age, both in the daily and otherwordly aspects.
It is the emblem of the ancient Egyptians' worldview, their “Kosmos' map”. It represents their awareness.
Innumerable other examples fill in the history, confirming the idea that the human being does not build stone by stone only for his/her own protection or busyness or only to represent divinity... The great works aspire to the intimate vision and to the awareness of the builder.
Every work, both large and small, can transcend itself. In that way everything can have a deep meaning, but only if it springs from the meaning.
Luis I. Kahn gives a new definition to the concept of time: “good buildings, marvellous ruins”. The building may decay, but the project's spirituality remains.
L. Vacchini, palestra di Losone, CH; 1997
Architecture arose as a protective shelter but soon it becomes a go-between human being and nature.The building art is handed down through memory, local traditions and culture, and it sediments into history. The search of the archetypes always fashinated those who perceive the symbols as meanings of learning.
For example, L. Vacchini assembled the formal archetypes in two categories: “radial simmetry” (the public buildings), “bilateral symmetry” (the private buildings).
Actually, the search of archetypes is not a dusty historicism: the archetype has got creative energy, it inspires new visions, it may indicate possible futures.
All architecture consists of incompatible pairs, but only apparently: field or empty, heaviness or lightness, movement or balance, tension or calm, harmony or silence, dream or clarity, shadow or light. Often they try to define architecture with more other dualisms: function or representation, minimalism or decoration, art or technology... Maybe only with an integral vision we may understand the greatness of the architecture's spirit and so define what is not architecture and what defaces the territory.
Maybe only attempting to reconcile the opposites we may protect the values of nature and the extraordinary human imprint on Earth...