April 23, 2010
render sancarlino
Helsingborg Render, Luxigon, 2009 (source)


While architects are charged with the design of buildings, they often spend as much time designing translations—renderings that function as visual-aids for clients. Extracted from monochromatic plans and elevations, the rendering presents an idealized vision of our dreary reality. It is a world where the sun is brighter, the faces are happier, and the trees are perpetually green. A world that would seem too good to be true, if it weren’t so far into the future.


Large cultural projects often utilize the rendering to excite the public, and drum up private donations prior to construction. However, When the finalized project is revealed, rarely is it able to live up to expectations. Impossible overhangs are pruned, glare from the sun burns and blinds, and the trees have all died a month after planting.


E. Sean Bailey


San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Francesco Borromini, 1646 (source)


Architectural form and the signification of a function are not necessarily consistently related. Churches are a prime example of a building type where the essential function of the building is maintained while the dominant architectural language reinterprets this function in different stylistic eras within any given cultural context. For example, Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane in Rome belongs to the Baroque period and accordingly utilizes the language of the curvaceous oval which is endlessly repeated creating a highly articulated space, whereas Le Corbusier’s St. Pierre in Firminy conforms to the austere forms of the modernist paradigm. While church functions may vary and take on different roles in various contexts, the basic elements include a space for an altar and an area where a priest is able to address a congregation. The language that supports a particular use may change, but the use itself may be continuous.


Erandi de Silva






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