Nobody in the architectural domain still regards Contextualism still in terms of mimicry or imitation. A good building is not designed by doing like the neighbors do, by keeping up with the Joneses. There is no such thing as contextual authenticity. On the other hand there is little believe anymore in the power of the iconic building. The contextual designer seems to be caught in the paradox of the personal creation of something that is recognized as local and impersonal.I will not try to rewrite the critique of contextualism in architecture. Rather, what I will try to do is say something about working methods. I will speculate on a ‘knowhow’ of contextualism, much rather than a ‘knowwhy’.
Balta is a hybrid of a silk screen printshop and a bar for close friends. Its spatial use and construction logic is closely tied to its founders and changing needs: it is a place whose structure is a co-creation of the entire community. To best describe the project architecturally, it is reasonable to regard the establishment as a flow; an accumulation and recycling of materials. Such a dispersion of authorship and, above all, a material-based point of view is rather a matter of spatial aesthetics, one that provides a visible, perceptible experience of sensuosness and physicality. How is a community bound to its space?
The question is concerned with the unknown and how to give sense to it. As in the end, every unfamiliarity may be given a familiar, perceivable context. However, let us talk about the feeling of unfamiliarity. Could it be something more, something more genuine or even more delicate than the most obvious, for instance, an abandoned building?
Architecture is a practice that operates in an eternal field of tension between the measurable and unmeasurable, where the rational and justifiable materialises in contact with the artistic decisions which are made in the architect’s umwelt and whose internal genesis may often be undefinable and elusive to description. The following is an attempt to shed some light onto that part of the architect’s creative process that is in shadow.
The translation of human thinking and machine thinking in architectural design is ambiguous, their mediation requires the architect to ask the questions “How come?” and “What for?” over and over again in the process.
Urmo Mets’ Conceivable Houses can be read in either a conceptual or realist way. A realist reading is the opposite of a conceptual reading in the sense that the goal is not to take in a particular idea, but, on the contrary, to find oneself transported through the text into an imaginary environment where no normal or habitual processes can be expected to work.
Is it possible to pair the obscure component of architecture—the component which it is easier to remain silent about, but which may possibly have the ability to establish meaningful connections with most diverse audience—with a clear and coherent analysis?
The works of Gordon Matta-Clark enable reflection upon the relationship between architecture and art, and ponder on the essence of architecture.