Emancipating Architecture - Herta Gaus
Emancipating Architecture: Toward a More Serious Aesthetic
by Herta Gaus
Contemporary architecture has been trivialized spurred on by a profit-driven construction industry on the one hand and aspiring intellectual designers on the other. At a time of increasing social inequality, alarming frequency and intensity of natural disasters, terrorism, global warming, deforestation, air pollution, acid rain, ozone depletion, the extinction of species, limited natural resources and a dwindling food supply, architecture has either been absent or responded with inconsequential metaphors.
Intellectualizing, imagery, and metaphors have been one of architecture’s trivial pursuits that have compromised the profession’s credibility and effectiveness. For example, over a decade ago Daniel Liebeskind’s metaphor for colliding, collapsing, chaotic architectural expressions was his personal worldview, summed up in uncertainty and mortality. A structure by Frank Gehry, completed in 2004, also appears to be collapsing. But the scary tilted columns and teetering, colliding walls of the Stata at MIT are “a deliberate metaphor for the freedom and daring of the research that’s supposed to occur inside.” Two different decades, different architects, different geographies, different contexts, and vastly different metaphors, yet similar architectural expressions?