Friday, March 20, 2015

Theory Discussion

By Sean Williamson

Over break I began to read Kenneth Frampton’s Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an architecture of resistance. So I thought it would be fit for me to discuss my readings during this weeks blog. Theory is a very difficult topic to read and actually comprehend what you just read. Although the readability was a little more complex than I was used to, I was still able to understand the major points the author was hitting.
After reading part 1 ‘Culture and Civilization’, there was a quote that I found very interesting. “Today the practice of architecture seems to be increasingly polarized between, on the one hand, a so-called high tech approach predicated exclusively upon production and, on the other, the provision of a “compensatory façade” to cover up the harsh realities of this universal system.” (Frampton, 1983, pg.18). The statement above describes how modern architecture is based on universal prefabricated pieces not individualized for that particular project. Frampton then goes on to say these universal systems are covered up by a “compensatory façade”, or in other words, compensate the architecture with a façade. Unfortunately, today’s architecture is all about how cheap can it be done.
Part 4 labeled ‘The Resistance of the Place-Form’ is another section I found very interesting. The first sentence reveals a harsh reality “…with the exception of cities which were laid in place before the turn of the century, we are no longer able to maintain defined urban forms.” (Frampton, 1983, pg.26). In my opinion, urban planners have failed to develop an urban fabric beneficial to the modern 21st century. The author Kenneth Frampton and I share this belief, “Today even the super-managerial discipline of urban planning has entered into a state of crisis.” (Frampton, 1983, pg.26).
My last point of interest I’m going to discuss is found within part 5. The author feels there is a lack of interaction between the landscape of a structure and the structure itself “The bulldozing of an irregular topography into a flat site is clearly a technocratic gesture which aspires to a condition of absolute placelessness, whereas the terracing of the same site to receive the stepped form of a building is an engagement in the act of “cultivating” the site.” (Frampton, 1983, pg.29). I believe this is a very true statement. This happens every day in America, millions of bulldozers reshaping this Earth. Designers need to take a step back and rethink the way we think about topography.

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