SMEAR

February 18th, 2011 — 10:18am
BIG Tower wave
Pyramid Tower designed by BIG, New York, 2011 (source)
Square Faraday Waves (source)

 

‘Trendy, diagrammatic BS one-liner. Bjarke should go back to Denmark’.

—Guest Comment #40, Curbed, 02/07/2011

 

 

‘OMA is the most overrated architecture firm in history. End of story’.

—Guest Comment #31, Curbed, 09/11/2008

 

 

‘I expect better from Herzog + de Meuron… but when it comes to their buildings in NYC… it’s more like Herzog + the Moron.’.

—Guest Comment #17, Curbed, 09/15/2008

 

 

Any designer that has ever published work online has undoubtedly dealt with the unavoidable emotional anguish that results from reading online public commentary. More vicious than any graduate school critic, or scrutinizing parent, the anonymous commenter will stop at nothing in their plight to destroy your work and sense of self worth.

 

The following are a few simple rules to avoid the most vitriolic outbursts and protect your reputation from the inevitable online smear campaigns:

 

1. Make sure that your building does not resemble something else. In the eyes of the anonymous commenter, snaking forms are piles of shit and anything too boxy is a coffin or tombstone… more

 

In quantum mechanics, an object such as an electron exists as both a wave and a particle. As a particle, it is a singular object, existing much as any other object we might study, but as a wave, the electron is smeared across a field of potential interactions and its existence is highly dependent on its relationships to other electrons and sub-atomic particles. This field of potential is structured by the singular particles, but is not irreducible to them; even in the emptiest vacuum, far from any other objects the field contains energy. All space is pre-charged with the capacity to affect.

 

Analogously, even the most indistinguishable and unnoticed piece of the built environment contains a certain pressure to affect the behavior of its inhabitants. In fact, the ordinary, everyday fragments that make up the environment of our lives are often more important than the grand spectacle of singular architecture that demands our attention. Yet almost by definition, this ordinary architecture is invisible and much like the electron, it is smeared across its context.

 

How many people truly notice the door they open and close each time they leave their house or office? Maybe once, the first time encountered, but more than likely that impression becomes vague from the repetition of use. While architecture may aspire to demand our attention, more often than not, it is lost in the noise of our lives. The ordinary is an architecture of inattention, only becoming distinct when one perceives it but then is quickly lost again. How might an ordinary architecture aspire past banality yet remain indistinct and uncertain, a mere blur that supports and influences our lives?

 

E. Sean Bailey

 

 

Arthur McGoey

 

4 comments » | Editorial, Guest Contributors

 

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