Ruminations on architecture, from Ken Allinson
Monthly Archives: June 2011
June 14, 2011Posted by on
Meetings With Buildings: Ruminations on the architect as phronetic extemporiser
I have rattled around this issue quite extensively, exploring it and what it is I want to say. The outcome is going to be two volumes. The first is almost completed. There is no institution, PhD programme or research ratings intent behind the work – this is simply me and architecture.
Why the title, ‘Meetings With Buildings’?
Fort me, architecture is something to find out there, on the pavements. I have developed a deep scepticism of its photographic illustration, invariably turning up at a building and remarking, ‘Hey, why didn’t they tell that …’ Books and magazines are promotional exercise and don’t interest me. On the other hand, the thing itself does. To ‘meet with’ a building is to encounter its architecture as a kind of ‘going on’ that is profoundly situated. Sometimes (perhaps all too often) there is nothing to meet with! At other times such a meeting is entirely dependent upon’s one’s own state of mind. Such an issue of attunement is similarly fundamental to design – to Charles Peirce’s abduction and its development into a realised work. What follows from such concerns is that it is far more profitable to ask ‘what is being an architect all about?’ than it is to baldly ask ‘what is architecture all about?’ On the other hand, these are two sides of the same coin …
Meanwhile, whilst working on this book, I am also preparing the sixth edition of my Guide to London’s Contemporary Architecture and acting as a London guide for Architectural Dialogue, taking architects, engineers and developers around London buildings.